The Impact of Economic Conditions on Healthy Dietary Intake: Evidence From Fluctuations in Canadian Unemployment Rates.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

This study examined the impact of economic conditions on fruit and vegetable consumption using multiple waves of the Canadian Community Health Survey.

DESIGN

By using metropolitan-area variation in the unemployment rate as a proxy for economic conditions, various measures of fruit and vegetable consumption were regressed on this unemployment rate, using a 2-way fixed effect estimation strategy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES

The following measures of fruit and vegetable consumption were considered: (1) total number of times per day respondents ate fruits and vegetables and (2) servings of fruit of vegetable consumption (<5 times/d, 5-10 times/d, and >10 times/d).

ANALYSIS

Regression models with location and time-fixed effects were estimated to explore the impact of the unemployment rate with the measures of fruit and vegetable consumption. Pearson's chi-square tests were used to examine subgroup differences by gender.

RESULTS

Findings suggested that increases in the unemployment rate (ie, worse economic conditions) reduced fruit and vegetable consumption, and this result was robust across gender and education levels.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

These findings contribute to a small but important body of literature that focuses specifically on the relationship between economic conditions and fruit and vegetable consumption.

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