Purpose – Improving access to healthy foods is currently on the European Union health policy agenda, as a means to mitigate obesity. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between access to food stores and adult BMI in Italy, accounting also for the synergic role of individuals’ eating habits. Design/methodology/approach – To study the relationship between access to different food outlets, eating habits, and adult BMI in Italy, the authors combine three years of individual-level data with region-level food stores’ density measures and account for store location endogeneity using a Generalized Method of Moment estimator. Findings – While large stores and specialty fruit and vegetable stores show a BMI decreasing effect, local/convenience stores show little to no effect on adult BMI. The effect of access on adult BMI varies conditionally on dietary habits, since access to food outlets and healthy eating can have a synergic impact on reducing Italian adults’ BMI. Originality/value – The authors highlight how, the effectiveness of policies aimed to curb obesity may vary according with the food environment consumers live in as well as on individuals’ eating habits.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)