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TELEVISION VIEWING, FAST-FOOD CONSUMPTION, AND CHILDREN’S OBESITY

Authors

  • HUNG-HAO CHANG,

    1. Chang: Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, National Taiwan University, No 1, Roosevelt Road Section 4, Taipei 106, Taiwan. Phone (8862) 3366-2656, Fax (8862) 2362-8496, E-mail hunghaochang@ntu.edu.tw
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      The authors are indebted to two anonymous reviewers for particularly thoughtful and meticulous comments. Hung-Hao Chang acknowledges partial funding support from the National Science Counsel of Taiwan under Grant No. 95-2415-H-002-041. The data used in the analysis are provided by the Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, and NHRIT. The interpretation and conclusions do not represent those of Department of Health and National Health Research Institute. The authors accept responsibility for any remaining errors or omissions.

  • RODOLFO M. NAYGA Jr.

    1. Nayga: Professor and Tyson Chair in Food Policy Economics, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701. Phone (479) 575-2258, Fax (479) 575-5306, E-mail rnayga@uark.edu
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      The authors are indebted to two anonymous reviewers for particularly thoughtful and meticulous comments. Hung-Hao Chang acknowledges partial funding support from the National Science Counsel of Taiwan under Grant No. 95-2415-H-002-041. The data used in the analysis are provided by the Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health, and NHRIT. The interpretation and conclusions do not represent those of Department of Health and National Health Research Institute. The authors accept responsibility for any remaining errors or omissions.


Abstract

Childhood obesity is rising in Taiwan and is becoming a major public health issue. This article examines the effect of children’s TV viewing and fast-food consumption on childhood obesity. Using a nationwide survey data in Taiwan and a two-step estimation procedure, our results show that TV viewing hours and fast-food consumption are correlated. After controlling for the endogeneity, we find these two activities positively contribute to children’s body weight and the increased risk of being overweight. Results suggest that public health/childhood obesity programs should educate parents of the critical influence of TV viewing and fast-food consumption on childhood obesity. The government can also encourage the fast-food industry to develop and sell healthier foods for children and provide point of sale nutritional information of these products. (JEL I12, I18)

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