The relationship between childhood obesity and food insecurity: A nonparametric analysis

Oluyemisi Kuku, Steven Garasky, Craig Gundersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Childhood obesity and food insecurity are major public health concerns in the United States and other developed countries. Research on the relationship between the two has provided mixed results across a variety of data sets and empirical methods. Common throughout this research, however, is the use of parametric frameworks for empirical analyses. This study moves beyond parametric methods by examining the relationship between childhood obesity and food insecurity among low-income children with nonparametric regression techniques. We examine data from the Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a nationally representative data set from the US. Consistent with recent work, our parametric analyses indicate that there is no statistically significant relationship between childhood obesity and food insecurity. In contrast, our nonparametric results indicate that the probability of being obese varies markedly with the level of food insecurity being experienced by the child. Moreover, this relationship differs across relevant subgroups including those defined by gender, race/ethnicity and income. Fully understanding the relationship between childhood obesity and food insecurity has significant policy implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2667-2677
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Economics
Volume44
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

Keywords

  • Childhood obesity
  • Food insecurity
  • Nonparametric models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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