Project: Effects of Agricultural Research and Farm Subsidy Policies on Human Nutrition and Obesity
Award Year: 2005
Amount of award, fiscal 2005: $30,000.00
Institution: University of California, Davis
Principal Investigator: Julian Alston
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Agricultural policies can affect commodity markets, prices and nutritional characteristics of food products, and thus, consumption choices and human nutrition outcomes. The nature and extent of the effects of agricultural policies on human nutrition and obesity are complex and not well understood, partly because effects of these policies are confounded with other factors, such as income growth and food industry changes.

This project will focus on the core elements of U.S. agricultural policies: commodity price and income supports, import barriers, and public support for agricultural research and development. The project will analyze the implications, particularly for low-income households, of commodity price policies over the last 30 years, using a simulation framework for farm and food sectors of the economy with a special emphasis on the implications for low-income households. Results from this study will be useful for understanding the linkages between agricultural policies and obesity and for evaluating the implications of obesity policies for farm product demand.

Topic: Obesity
Alston, J., B. Rickard, and A. Okrent. “Farm Policy and Obesity in the United States,” Choices, Vol. 25, No. 3, 3rd Quarter 2010.
Alston, J., C. Mullally, D. Sumner, M. Townsend and S. Vosti. “Likely Effects of Obesity from Proposed Changes to the US Food Stamp Program,” Food Policy, Vol. 34, Issue 2, April 2009.
Alston, J., D. Sumner, and S. Vosti. “Are Agricultural Policies Making Us Fat? Likely Links between Agricultural Policies and Human Nutrition and Obesity, and Their Policy Implications,” Review of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 28, Issue 3, Fall 2006.
Alston, J., D. Sumner, and S. Vosti. “Farm Subsidies and Obesity in the United States: National Evidence and International Comparisons,” Food Policy, Vol. 33, Issue 6, December 2008.
Mullally, C., J. Alston, D. Sumner, M. Townsend, and S. Vosti. “Proposed Modifications to the Food Stamp Program: Likely Effects and Policy Implications,” in Obesity: Causes, Mechanisms, and Prevention, E. Blass, ed. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Publishers, Sunderland, MA, 2008.