Start Date: September 2011

ID #: 69294

Principal Investigator: Matthew Harding, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator: Michael Lovenheim, PhD

Organization: Stanford University

Funding Round: Round 6

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The impact of family food purchasing on child obesity is understudied, and little is known about the roles that consumer shopping behavior and local prices for goods with different nutritional content play in determining obesity prevalence. This project will use unique, nationally-representative scanned UPC data collected by Nielsen over a 12-year period on consumer grocery purchases and health to examine the role prices and local purchase environments (such as store density) play in determining the nutritional content of goods purchased and the resulting effects on obesity. Investigators will conduct a health behavior survey of families with children from the Nielsen Homescan panel, collecting additional measurements on individual-level health outcomes, food consumed outside the home, as well as exercise and other behaviors. A descriptive analysis will be conducted to examine how nutritional bundles from grocery purchases, prices paid for food items, food purchases outside the home, exercise behaviors and obesity status co-vary with each other and how these relationships change with household socioeconomic status. Causal effects of local food purchasing environments and food prices on the nutrient intake of households will be identified. To the extent that higher prices or the lack of accessible grocery stores play a role in reducing the nutritional quality of household purchases, these analyses will provide evidence on the scope of possible economic interventions.

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