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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

MENDOZA VELAZQUEZ, Alfonso. Index of Nutritional Purchasing Power Parity: comparison of caloric costs of a healthy versus an unhealthy diet. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2012, vol.31, n.1, pp. 17-24. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892012000100003.

OBJECTIVE: Develop the Index of Nutritional Purchasing Power Parity (Nut3-CiO) as an instrument to compare the caloric costs of a healthy versus an unhealthy diet between regions or cities in a country over time. METHODS: Indices of caloric prices were constructed and the "law of one price" was used to derive the Nut3-CiO index. Caloric inflation rates were obtained using basic descriptive statistics. The Nut3-CiO was applied in the major cities of Mexico during the period from January 1996 to December 2010. RESULTS: The statistical behavior of the Nut3-CiO revealed that, in Mexican cities, products for a typical diet are less expensive than products for a healthy diet. The findings showed a cyclical behavior to the index, a high correlation between inflation for the typical diet and inflation for the market basket, and a high persistence of prices. CONCLUSIONS: The Nut3-CiO index makes it possible to periodically compare the price differential of two types of diets-typical and healthy-between cities in a single country. This instrument could help health authorities identify the cities where it is easier or more difficult for consumers to access a typical or healthy diet in terms of cost. Furthermore, it makes it possible to estimate the percentage adjustment necessary in each city to attain levels of nutritional purchasing power parity.

Keywords : Obesity; overweight; diet; feeding behavior; food; health economics; economic indexes; biostatistics; Mexico.

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