Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 261–275 | Cite as

Childhood Obesity and Unhappiness: The Influence of Soft Drinks and Fast Food Consumption

Research Paper


A growing body of literature has examined the determinants of childhood obesity, but little is known about children’s subjective wellbeing. To fulfill this gap, this paper examines the effects of fast food and soft drink consumption on children’s overweight and unhappiness. Using a nationwide survey data in Taiwan and estimating a simultaneous mixed equation system, our results generally suggest a tradeoff in policy implication. Fast food and soft drink consumption tend to be positively associated with children’s increased risk of being overweight but they are also negatively associated with their degree of unhappiness. Current and future policy/program interventions that aim to decrease fast food and soft drinks consumption of children to reduce childhood obesity may be more effective if these interventions also focus on ways that could compensate the increase in degree of unhappiness among children.


Unhappiness Childhood obesity Fast food Soft drink Taiwan 



Hung-Hao Chang acknowledges partial funding support from the National Science Counsel of Taiwan under Grant No: 95-2415-H-002-041. The data used in the analysis is provided by the Bureau of Health Promotion, Department of Health and National Health Research Institute in Taiwan. The interpretation and conclusions do not represent those of Department of Health and National Health Research Institute. The authors accept responsibility for any remaining errors or omissions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural EconomicsNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics and AgribusinessUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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