The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children
AbstractIn response to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have advocated increasing the time that elementary school children spend in physical education (PE) classes. However, little is known about the effect of PE on child weight. This paper measures that effect by instrumenting for child PE time with state policies, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) for 1998-2004. Results from IV models indicate that PE lowers BMI z-score and reduces the probability of obesity among 5th graders (in particular, boys), while the instrument is insufficiently powerful to reliably estimate effects for younger children. This represents some of the first evidence of a causal effect of PE on youth obesity, and thus offers at least some support to the assumptions behind the CDC recommendations. We find no evidence that increased PE time crowds out time in academic courses or has spillovers to achievement test scores.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18341.
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Cawley, John, David Frisvold, and Chad Meyerhoefer. "The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children." Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32(4): 743-755.
Note: CH ED HE LE PE
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Other versions of this item:
- Cawley, John & Frisvold, David & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2013. "The impact of physical education on obesity among elementary school children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 743-755.
- Cawley, John & Frisvold, David & Meyerhoefer, Chad D., 2012. "The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children," IZA Discussion Papers 6807, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
- I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Production
- I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
- I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
- K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-09-03 (All new papers)
- NEP-EDU-2012-09-03 (Education)
- NEP-HEA-2012-09-03 (Health Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2012-09-03 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-URE-2012-09-03 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dills, Angela K. & Morgan, Hillary N. & Rotthoff, Kurt W., 2011. "Recess, physical education, and elementary school student outcomes," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 889-900, October.
- Institute of Medicine Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children & Youth & of which Robert C. Whitaker was a member, 2005. "Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 6209, Mathematica Policy Research.
- John Cawley & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2006.
"Beyond BMI: The Value of More Accurate Measures of Fatness and Obesity in Social Science Research,"
NBER Working Papers
12291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
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- John Cawley & Chad Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2007.
"The impact of state physical education requirements on youth physical activity and overweight,"
John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1287-1301.
- John Cawley & Chad D. Meyerhoefer & David Newhouse, 2005. "The Impact of State Physical Education Requirements on Youth Physical Activity and Overweight," NBER Working Papers 11411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Trenton G. Smith & Attila Tasnadi, 2013. "The Economics of Information, Deep Capture, and the Obesity Debate," Working Papers 1315, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2013.
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