The Effect of Neighborhood Fast Food on Children's BMI: Evidence from a Sample of Movers

Yiwei Qian, Michael R. Thomsen, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Jr, Heather L. Rouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


We use a statewide panel dataset and an instrumental variable strategy to identify the effect of neighborhood fast food on the BMI z-scores of Arkansas public schoolchildren. As in earlier studies, we use distance from the child's residence to the nearest major highway as an instrument for the density of fast-food restaurants. The sample is limited to children who moved at least once during the study period to ensure temporal variation in our instrument. Neighborhood fast food does have significant and positive effects on their BMI z-scores. The effect is disproportionately large for children who are rural, non-minority and female.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20160251
JournalB.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • BMI z-score
  • childhood obesity
  • fast food
  • instrumental variables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

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