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Carbonated Soft Drink Choices and Obesity

Listed author(s):
  • Rigoberto A. Lopez


    (University of Connecticut)

  • Kristen L. Fantuzzi


    (Keystone Community Living)

Although obesity is already the leading public health crisis in the U.S., with an estimated social cost of approximately $120 billion a year and growing (Rowley, 2004), obesity incidence continues to increase at an alarming rate (Kuhn, 2002). The main culprits are the increase in the consumption of high-calorie foods and beverages and a decrease in exercise (Kuhn, 2002; Allhouse, Frazao, and Tupening, 2002). Paralleling the increase in obesity is the increase in consumption of carbonated soft drinks (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2005; DiMeglio and Mattes, 2000). Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) are a very large part of the American diet. These wellliked drinks account for approximately 30% of all beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) consumed in the U.S. (U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2008). In 2000, Americans spent $61 billion on CSDs (National Soft Drink Association, 2003) and CSDs are among the best-selling products in American grocery stores (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2005). Also in 2000, more than 15 billion gallons were sold in the United States, which equals every American consuming at least one 12-ounce can per day or an average of 53 gallons per year (Squires, 2001). This article examines consumer CSD choices and their implications for obesity policy. Specifically, it assesses the importance of product and consumer heterogeneity on consumer choices using a random coefficients logit model (Berry, Levinsohn, and Pakes, 1995; hereafter BLP) and a national dataset that includes product and consumer characteristics. The estimated choice parameters are then linked to consumer body mass indexes (BMI) using a second-stage regression, and the effectiveness of tax policies assessed through counterfactual experiments.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy in its series Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports with number 124.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Handle: RePEc:zwi:fpcrep:124
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  1. 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.
  2. Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
  3. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-890, July.
  4. Fred Kuchler & Abebayehu Tegene & J. Michael Harris, 2005. "Taxing Snack Foods: Manipulating Diet Quality or Financing Information Programs?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 4-20.
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