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Childhood overweight in the United States: A quantile regression approach

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  • Stifel, David C.
  • Averett, Susan L.

Abstract

The prevalence of overweight children in the United States has increased dramatically over the past two decades, and is creating well-known public health problems. Moreover, there is also evidence that children who are not overweight are becoming heavier. We use quantile regression models along with standard ordinary least squares (OLS) models to explore the correlates of childhood weight status and overweight as measured by the Body Mass Index (BMI). This approach allows the effects of covariates to vary depending on where in the BMI distribution a child is located. Our results indicate that OLS masks some of the important correlates of child BMI at the upper and lower tails of the weight distribution. For example, mother's education has no effect on black children, but is associated with improvements in BMI for overweight white boys and underweight white girls. Conversely, mother's cognitive aptitude has no effect on white boys, but is associated with BMI improvements for underweight black children and overweight white girls. Further, we find that underweight white children and black girls experience similar improvements in BMI as they get older, but that for black boys there is little if any association between age and BMI anywhere in the BMI distribution.

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Bibliographic Info

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

Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 387-397

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:387-397

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

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Keywords: Childhood overweight Obesity Underweight Quantile regression;

References

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  1. Bhattacharya, Jayanta & Currie, Janet & Haider, Steven, 2004. "Poverty, food insecurity, and nutritional outcomes in children and adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 839-862, July.
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  3. David E. Sahn & David C. Stifel, 2002. "Robust Comparisons of Malnutrition in Developing Countries," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(3), pages 716-735.
  4. Baum II, Charles L. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2009. "Age, socioeconomic status and obesity growth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 635-648, May.
  5. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  6. David Cutler & Edward Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," NBER Working Papers 9446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Childhood Disadvantage and Obesity: Is Nurture Trumping Nature?," NBER Working Papers 13479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Komlos, John & Baur, Marieluise, 2003. "From the Tallest to (One of) the Fattest: The Enigmatic Fate of the American Population in the 20th Century," Discussion Papers in Economics 76, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  9. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John, 2008. "Beyond BMI: The value of more accurate measures of fatness and obesity in social science research," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 519-529, March.
  10. Ravallion, Martin, 1996. "Issues in measuring and modeling poverty," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1615, The World Bank.
  11. Cutler, David & Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal Employment and Overweight Children," NBER Working Papers 8770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Dean Jolliffe, 2004. "Continuous and robust measures of the overweight epidemic: 1971–2000," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 303-314, May.
  14. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  15. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2003. "Economic perspectives on childhood obesity," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q III, pages 30-48.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nakamura, R.;, 2012. "Intergenerational effect of schooling and childhood overweight," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/02, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Forste, Renata & Moore, Erin, 2012. "Adolescent obesity and life satisfaction: Perceptions of self, peers, family, and school," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 385-394.
  3. Fiese, Barbara H. & Hammons, Amber & Grigsby-Toussaint, Diana, 2012. "Family mealtimes: A contextual approach to understanding childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 365-374.
  4. Jolliffe, Dean, 2010. "Overweight and Poor? On the Relationship between Income and the Body Mass Index," IZA Discussion Papers 5366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Classen, Timothy J., 2010. "Measures of the intergenerational transmission of body mass index between mothers and their children in the United States, 1981-2004," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 30-43, March.
  6. Dodd, Mark C., 2014. "Intertemporal discounting as a risk factor for high BMI: Evidence from Australia, 2008," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 83-97.

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