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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 2 No. 3 (August 2010)

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The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain

Article Citation

Currie, Janet, Stefano DellaVigna, Enrico Moretti, and Vikram Pathania. 2010. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2(3): 32-63.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.3.32

Abstract

We investigate how changes in the supply of fast food restaurants affect weight outcomes of 3 million children and 3 million pregnant women. Among ninth graders, a fast food restaurant within 0.1 miles of a school results in a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rates. Among pregnant women, a fast-food restaurant within 0.5 miles of residence results in a 1.6 percent increase in the probability of gaining over 20 kilos. The implied effects on caloric intake are one order of magnitude larger for children than for mothers, consistent with smaller travel cost for adults. Non-fast food restaurants and future fast-food restaurants are uncorrelated with weight outcomes. (JEL I12, J13, J16, L83)

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Authors

Currie, Janet (Columbia U)
DellaVigna, Stefano (University of California, Berkeley)
Moretti, Enrico (U CA, Berkeley)
Pathania, Vikram (Cornerstone Research, San Francisco, CA)

JEL Classifications

I12: Health Production
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
L83: Sports; Gambling; Recreation; Tourism

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