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Fat City: The Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity

Author

Listed:
  • Jean Eid
  • Henry G. Overman
  • Diego Puga
  • Matthew A. Turner

Abstract

We study the relationship between urban sprawl and obesity. Using data that tracks individuals over time, we find no evidence that urban sprawl causes obesity. We show that previous findings of a positive relationship most likely reflect a failure to properly control for the fact the individuals who are more likely to be obese choose to live in more sprawling neighborhoods. Our results indicate that current interest in changing the built environment to counter the rise in obesity is misguided.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean Eid & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2006. "Fat City: The Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Obesity," Working Papers tecipa-255, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-255
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
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    3. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2006. "Causes of Sprawl: A Portrait from Space," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 587-633.
    4. Chou, Shin-Yi & Grossman, Michael & Saffer, Henry, 2004. "An economic analysis of adult obesity: results from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 565-587, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Odelia Rosin, 2008. "The Economic Causes Of Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 617-647, September.
    2. Wehby, George L. & Courtemanche, Charles J., 2012. "The heterogeneity of the cigarette price effect on body mass index," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 719-729.
    3. Brueckner, Jan K. & Largey, Ann G., 2008. "Social interaction and urban sprawl," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 18-34, July.
    4. Andrew J. Plantinga & Stephanie Bernell, 2007. "The Association Between Urban Sprawl And Obesity: Is It A Two‐Way Street?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 857-879, December.
    5. Sallis, James F. & Saelens, Brian E. & Frank, Lawrence D. & Conway, Terry L. & Slymen, Donald J. & Cain, Kelli L. & Chapman, James E. & Kerr, Jacqueline, 2009. "Neighborhood built environment and income: Examining multiple health outcomes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1285-1293, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    urban sprawl; obesity; selection effects;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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