Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight

Edited by Dana Goldman, Darius Lakdawalla and Yuhui Zheng

in Economic Aspects of Obesity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780226310091
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226310107 | DOI:
Food Prices and the Dynamics of Body Weight

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This chapter explores the body weight consequences of changing food prices by using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a panel of U.S. adults aged fifty and over. It examines the short-term and long-term relationships between food prices of various kinds and body weight and found a very modest short-term relationships between price per calorie on body weight. It did not find differential effects of price per calorie by baseline obesity or baseline household wealth. The long-term effect is larger, but still below the threshold of clinical significance. It mentions that within ten years, a 10 percent permanent reduction in price per calorie would be associated with a body mass index (BMI) increase of 1.05 units (or 2.5 percent). The maximum long-run effect implied by the model is still modest, at 2.2 units of BMI (or 5.1 percent).

Keywords: food prices; body weight; body mass index; obesity; calorie

Chapter.  8177 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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