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Born to be wide? Exploring correlations in mother and adolescent body mass index

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  • Brown, Heather
  • Roberts, Jennifer

Abstract

The channels contributing to the intergenerational correlation in body mass are not well understood. A novel decomposition approach from quantitative genetics is used to estimate the contribution of maternal characteristics, household income, and adolescent behaviours on the intergenerational correlation in BMI. The analysis uses data on mothers and their adolescent children from the British Household Panel Survey. The overall intergenerational correlation in BMI is 0.25. Maternal educational attainment and adolescent participation in daily physical activity are the largest contributing factors to the intergenerational correlation in BMI. Maternal employment and high daily television viewing by the adolescent are also contributing factors. Overall, observable characteristics explain 11.2% of the intergenerational correlation in BMI.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Heather & Roberts, Jennifer, 2013. "Born to be wide? Exploring correlations in mother and adolescent body mass index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 413-415.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:120:y:2013:i:3:p:413-415
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.05.022
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    2. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
    3. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
    4. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1989. "Economic and Mechanical Models of Intergenerational Transmission," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 504-513, June.
    5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Childhood Disadvantage and Obesity: Is Nurture Trumping Nature?," NBER Chapters,in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 149-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Sibling similarities and economic inequality in the US," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 685-701, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Classen, Timothy J. & Thompson, Owen, 2016. "Genes and the intergenerational transmission of BMI and obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 121-133.
    2. Brown, Sarah & Greene, William H. & Harris, Mark N., 2014. "A New Formulation for Latent Class Models," IZA Discussion Papers 8283, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Xiao, Mimi, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission and the effects of health on migration," Economics PhD Theses 0515, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Body mass index; Restricted maximum likelihood; Intergenerational correlation;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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