An empirical analysis of fruit and vegetable consumption and adult overweight and obesity in the U.S.

Long Zhang, Tennessee State University

Abstract

This research is an up-to-date empirical analysis of the distribution and trends of fruit and vegetable consumption and overweight/obesity in the U.S. The study also examined the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and obesity prevalence using panel econometric models. The research utilized a panel dataset from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. ^ About a quarter of adults consumed five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Low consumption rates were common across states. There was no significance change or trend in fruit and vegetable consumption from 1996 to 2009. The highest consumption rates changed very little and all of the lowest rates decreased over time. About 37.42% adults were obese, 36.22% overweight, and 63.61% either obese or overweight in 2009. Obesity rate increased over the study period across all states, and overall experienced an upward and statistically significant trend. Obesity prevalence appeared to have become worse faster for states that already had very high obesity rates. Many states in the south had the highest and higher-than-average obesity rates, but the lowest or lower-than-average fruit and vegetable consumption rates. Many states in the northeast exhibited the opposite pattern.^ The propensity of consuming five or more servings of fruits and vegetables is inversely associated with the likelihood of being obese with statistical significance. Given a 1% increase in fruit and vegetable consumption rate, obesity rate is expected to reduce by 0.062% with a p-value of 5.5%, all else constant. This effect in 2009 was greater than the average effect over the study period. Smoking, physical activities, education and income levels had no statistically significant effect on obesity rate. Middle-aged people, people undergoing a separation, retirees and people disabled from work, and adults in a household with three children had the highest obesity prevalence among all others with, respectively, different age, martial status, employments status, and households with different number of children, ceteris paribus. ^ Empirical evidence and insights from this research contribute the science-based knowledge, and will facilitate in developing more effective programs and in decision-making and behavioral changes to promote healthy diet, health and wellbeing.^

Subject Area

Economics, Agricultural|Health Sciences, Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Long Zhang, "An empirical analysis of fruit and vegetable consumption and adult overweight and obesity in the U.S." (2013). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI1543750.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI1543750

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