Youths at Nutrition Risk

Malnourished or Misnourished?

Published in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis / Edited By J. Gruber (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2001), Chapter 10, p. 483-521

by Jay Bhattacharya, Janet Currie

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Extreme nutrition deprivation is rare in the United States and in other developed countries. Nevertheless, many American youths are misnourished --they overconsume fats and underconsume foods such as fruits and vegetables--a trend linked to the increasing prevalence of obesity. In this chapter, the authors review data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and find that poor nutrition is a problem for American youths regardless of family background. They conclude that policies designed to alter diet composition are likely to address the nutrition problems of American youths more effectively than policies (such as food stamps) that merely seek to increase the quantity of good consumed.

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