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Abstract

We examine the association between food expenditure and overall diet quality using a model where we assumed dietary quality is a function of health conditions, life style choices, total food expenditures, and socio-economic status. We use cross-sectional data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-02 and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Food Prices Database. Diet quality is measured using the USDA Healthy Eating Index-2005. Our findings suggest that there is no statistically significant association between total diet quality and diet cost for men, but a small association for women. Compared with diet cost, health conditions, life style choices, and socio-economic status play an important role in determining diet quality.

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