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Does Proximity to Fast Food Cause Childhood Obesity? Evidence from Public Housing

Jeehee Han (), Amy Schwartz () and Brian Elbel
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Jeehee Han: Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244, https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/research/center-for-policy-research
Brian Elbel: New York University

No 228, Center for Policy Research Working Papers from Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Abstract: We examine the causal link between proximity to fast food and the incidence of childhood obesity among low-income households in New York City. Using individual-level longitudinal data on students living in public housing linked to restaurant location data, we exploit the naturally occurring withindevelopment variation in distance to fast food restaurants to estimate the impact of proximity on obesity. Since the assignment of households to specific buildings is based upon availability at the time of assignment to public housing, the distance between student residence and retail outlets—including fast food restaurants, wait-service restaurants, supermarkets, and corner stores—is plausibly random. Our credibly causal estimates suggest that childhood obesity increases with proximity to fast food, with larger effects for younger children.

Keywords: Urban Neighborhoods; Food Environment; Child Health and Obesity; Public Housing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 J13 L83 R38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 47 pages
Date: 2020-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gen, nep-hea and nep-ure
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:max:cprwps:228

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