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Food Price Policies and the Distribution of Body Mass Index: Theory and Empirical Evidence from France

  • Etilé, F

This paper uses French food expenditures data to examine the e¤ect of the prices of 23 food product categories on the distribution of Body Mass Index (BMI) in a sample of French adults. A dynamic choice model that uses standard assumptions from Physiology is developed. It is shown that the slope of the price-BMI relationship is a¤ected by the individual’s Physical Activity Level (PAL). When the latter is unobserved, identi…cation of price e¤ects at conditional quantiles of the BMI distribution requires quantile independence between PAL and the covariates, especially income. Then, using quantile regression results, unconditional BMI distributions can be simulated for various price policies. It is found that increasing the price of beverages, fats and sugars and sweets by 10%, and decreasing the price of fruits and vegetables by 10% would reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity by 5 and 7 percentage points respectively. Correspondance : Fabrice Etilé, etile@ivry.inra.fr; INRA, UR 1303 - ALISS, 65 rue de Brandebourg, F-94205 Ivry-sur-Seine. I am grateful to Christine Boizot-Szantai for research assistance, to Olivier Allais, Arnaud Basdevant, Pierre Dubois, Sébastien Lecocq and Anne- Laure Samson for discussions and suggestions, and to seminar participants at the 2005 EAAE Congress (Copenhaguen), INRA-IDEI (Toulouse), INRA-GAEL (Grenoble), York Seminar in Health Econometrics (U.York), INRA-EC (Blois), JESF 2007 (Lille), SFER conference (Paris), and Erasmus School of Economics (Rotterdam) for helpful comments on various versions of this paper.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 08/10.

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Date of creation: May 2008
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:08/10
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