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Abstract

Health concerns seem to influence consumers’ decisions for purchasing local foods. Maples et al. (2013), Onozaka, Nurse, and Thilmany McFadden (2010), and Wolf, Apitler, and Ahern (2005) found that health motivation can be a significant driver of local foods purchase, yet it remains unclear what specific health aspects determine consumer purchase decisions. For example, consumers with a delicate health history might be trying to fend off disease. In this study, we explore the effects of specific health variables (family illness incidences focusing six particular diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, back/joint pain, Alzheimer/dementia and cancer,) on buying behavior of local foods. We examine the decisions of whether to visit farmer’s markets, visit farm stands, and participate in community supported agriculture (CSA) using a binary probit model. Results indicate that cancer and obesity are statistically significant to purchase local foods. Other important factors include greater physical activity level, following special diet and availability of farmers’ markets. Findings might help local food sellers in the Southeastern United States gain a deeper understanding of how consumers’ health background and health concerns affect their choice of local food outlets.

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