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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

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Volume 17, Issue 4


Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

The Effect of Neighborhood Fast Food on Children’s BMI: Evidence from a Sample of Movers

Yiwei Qian / Michael R. Thomsen / Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr. / Heather L. Rouse
  • Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA
  • Formerly of The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-08-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2016-0251


We use a statewide panel dataset and an instrumental variable strategy to identify the effect of neighborhood fast food on the BMI z-scores of Arkansas public schoolchildren. As in earlier studies, we use distance from the child’s residence to the nearest major highway as an instrument for the density of fast-food restaurants. The sample is limited to children who moved at least once during the study period to ensure temporal variation in our instrument. Neighborhood fast food does have significant and positive effects on their BMI z-scores. The effect is disproportionately large for children who are rural, non-minority and female.

Keywords: childhood obesity; BMI z-score; fast food; instrumental variables

JEL Classification: I10; Q18


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-08-19

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM109096. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. This work as also supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-68001-30014 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Volume 17, Issue 4, 20160251, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2016-0251.

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