Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Eshragh Motahar




obesity, corn-ethanol, health, weight control, health


The purpose of this study is to examine the effect that increased U.S. corn-ethanol production has on food prices and, in turn, the diet choices of the U.S. population. Previous literature has confirmed the linkages between the energy market and the corn market and has separately examined the relationship between relative food prices and obesity. The purpose of this study is to link ethanol production to obesity. The first two sections of the model will utilize various econometric techniques to test the existence of certain empirical relationships over the period of January 1982-May 2011. The final stage will employ ordinary least squares regression analysis using data from 1995-2010. The data included has been collected from BLS, USDA, CDC, and The Economist. The empirical testing for the final part of model uses annual data for only 16 observations, which may reduce the validity of the test. I anticipate that increased U.S. corn ethanol production will lead to higher corn prices, and thus higher prices for “unhealthy” foods. To the extent that people respond to relative prices, I would expect a shift in consumption from “unhealthy” foods towards “healthy” foods, thus slowing down America’s obesity problem.