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Supermarket access and childhood bodyweight: Evidence from store openings and closings

Di Zeng (), Michael R. Thomsen, Rodolfo Nayga and Judy L. Bennett

Economics & Human Biology, 2019, vol. 33, issue C, 78-88

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Supermarket; Opening; Closing; BMI; Child (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q18 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.01.004

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