The effect of fast food restaurants on obesity and weight gain

Janet Currie, Stefano Della Vigna, Enrico Moretti, Vikram Pathania

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Scopus citations


We investigate how changes in the supply of fast food restaurants affect weight outcomes of 3 million children and 3 million pregnant women. Among ninth graders, a fast food restaurant within 0.1 miles of a school results in a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rates. Among pregnant women, a fast-food restaurant within 0.5 miles of residence results in a 1.6 percent increase in the probability of gaining over 20 kilos. The implied effects on caloric intake are one order of magnitude larger for children than for mothers, consistent with smaller travel cost for adults. Non-fast food restaurants and future fast-food restaurants are uncorrelated with weight outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-63
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Economic Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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