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