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Weight gain in adolescents and their peers

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  • Halliday, Timothy J.
  • Kwak, Sally

Abstract

Despite the urgent public health implications, relatively little is yet known about the effect of peers on adolescent weight gain. We describe trends and features of adolescent BMI in a nationally representative dataset and document correlations in weight gain among peers. We find strong correlations between own body mass index (BMI) and peers' BMI's. Though the correlations are especially strong in the upper ends of the BMI distribution, the relationship is smooth and holds over almost the entire range of adolescent BMI. Furthermore, the results are robust to the inclusion of school fixed effects and basic controls for other confounding factors such as race, sex, and age. Some recent research in this area considers whether or not adolescent weight gain is caused by peers. We discuss the econometric issues in plausibly estimating such effects while accounting for growth spurts and difficulties in defining adolescent obesity. While our work identifies correlations between adolescent BMI and peers' BMI, it is not intended to and cannot fully address the existence of endogenous peer effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (July)
Pages: 181-190

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:2:p:181-190

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: Obesity Peer effects Adolescent health;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Akee, Randall K. Q. & Simeonova, Emilia & Copeland, William & Angold, Adrian & Costello, Jane E., 2010. "Does More Money Make You Fat? The Effects of Quasi-Experimental Income Transfers on Adolescent and Young Adult Obesity," IZA Discussion Papers 5135, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Josep-Oriol Escardíbul & Toni Mora & Anna Villarroya, 2013. "Peer effects on youth screen media consumption in Catalonia (Spain)," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 185-201, May.
  3. Asirvatham, Jebaraj & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr. & Thomsen, Michael R., 2012. "Peer-Effects In Obesity Among Public School Children: A Grade-Level Analysis," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA 122732, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  4. Cunningham, Solveig A. & Vaquera, Elizabeth & Maturo, Claire C. & Venkat Narayan, K.M., 2012. "Is there evidence that friends influence body weight? A systematic review of empirical research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(7), pages 1175-1183.
  5. Yakusheva, Olga & Kapinos, Kandice & Weiss, Marianne, 2011. "Peer effects and the Freshman 15: Evidence from a natural experiment," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 119-132, March.
  6. Alviola, Pedro A. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Thomsen, Michael R. & Danforth, Diana & Smartt, James, 2014. "The effect of fast-food restaurants on childhood obesity: A school level analysis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 110-119.
  7. García Villar, Jaume & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Income and body mass index in Europe," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 73-83, March.
  8. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2009. "Grazing, Goods and Girth: Determinants and Effects," NBER Working Papers 15277, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Kapinos, Kandice A. & Yakusheva, Olga & Eisenberg, Daniel, 2014. "Obesogenic environmental influences on young adults: Evidence from college dormitory assignments," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 98-109.
  10. Auld, M. Christopher, 2011. "Effect of large-scale social interactions on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 303-316, March.
  11. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2010. "Incentives, time use and BMI: The roles of eating, grazing and goods," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 2-15, March.
  12. Averett, Susan L. & Terrizzi, Sabrina & Wang, Yang, 2013. "The Effect of Sorority Membership on Eating Disorders and Body Mass Index," IZA Discussion Papers 7512, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Asirvatham, Jebaraj & Nayga, Rodolfo M. Jr. & Thomsen, Michael R., 2013. "Peer-Effects on Childhood Obesity," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150417, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  14. Ali, Mir M. & Amialchuk, Aliaksandr & Rizzo, John A., 2012. "The influence of body weight on social network ties among adolescents," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 20-34.
  15. Ryota Nakamura & Marc Suhrcke & Daniel John Zizzo, 2014. "A Triple Test for Behavioral Economics Models and Public Health Policy," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science (CBESS) 14-01, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  16. Stephen L. Ross, 2009. "Social Interactions within Cities: Neighborhood Environments and Peer Relationships," Working papers 2009-31, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  17. Burbidge, Linda D. & Peterson, Hikaru Hanawa, 2010. "From Family to Peer Setting: Food Choices of College Freshmen," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 61662, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  18. Loh, Chung-Ping A. & Li, Qiang, 2013. "Peer effects in adolescent bodyweight: Evidence from rural China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 35-44.
  19. David Card & Laura Giuliano, 2013. "Peer Effects and Multiple Equilibria in the Risky Behavior of Friends," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(4), pages 1130-1149, October.

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