An Economic Analysis of the Impact of Food Prices and Other Factors on Adult Lifestyles: Choices of Physical Activity and Healthy Weight

This paper examines women’s and men’s decisions to participate in physical activity and to attain a healthy weight. These outcomes are hypothesized to be related to prices of food, drink and health care services and products, the respondent’s personal characteristics (such as education, reading food labels, adjusted family income, opportunity cost of time, occupation, marital status, race and ethnicity) and his or her BMI at age 25. These decisions are represented by a trivariate probit model that is fitted to data for adults in the NLSY79 panel with geocodes that have been augmented with local area food, drink and health care prices. Separate analyses are undertaken for men and women due to basic physiological differences. Results include: Women and men who read food labels are more likely to participate in moderate and vigorous physical exercise, and women are less likely to be obese. Women with more education are more likely to be obese but educated men are less likely to be obesity. Higher prices for fresh fruits and vegetables and non-alcoholic drinks increase likelihood of obesity for females but not for males; and a higher price for processed fruits and vegetables reduce likelihood of obesity for females but not for males. A larger BMI at age 25 has wage effects later in life and also increases the probability of being obese.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
I10; D10; J24

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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