Retail food environment is increasingly considered in relation to obesity. This study investigates the impacts of access to supermarkets, the primary source of healthy foods in the United States, on the bodyweight of children. Empirical analysis uses individual-level panel data covering health screenings of public schoolchildren from Arkansas with annual georeferenced business lists, and utilizes the variations of supermarket openings and closings. There is little overall impact in either case. However, supermarket openings are found to reduce the BMI z-scores of low-income children by 0.090 to 0.096 standard deviations. Such impact remains in a variety of robustness exercises. Therefore, improvement in healthy food access could at least help reduce childhood obesity rates among certain population groups.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-68001-30014 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the program title “Childhood Obesity Prevention: Integrated Research, Education, and Extension to Prevent Childhood Obesity”, program code A2101. The authors thank three anonymous for their helpful comments and suggestions. The usual disclaimer applies.
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)