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Abstract

Due to the increased share of food consumption away from (FAFH) on overall household food expenditure, a considerable body of literature has examined the impacts of FAFH on diet quality and physical health. A conventional wisdom is that FAFH is associated with poor diet quality, and it also increases the likelihood of being overweight. However, not much attention has been paid to the association between FAFH and mental health of the individual. Since mental health is as important as physical health, a better understanding of the effect of FAFH on mental health is crucial for policy making. This study contributes to this knowledge gap by assessing the causal effect of FAFH on elderly depression using a national representative dataset of elderly in Taiwan. Results indicate that elderly who consumed food away from home is more likely to be depressed by 34% compared to their counterparts of FAFH non-participants, after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics and other factors.

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