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The effect of friends on adolescent body weight

  • Renna, Francesco
  • Grafova, Irina B.
  • Thakur, Nidhi

Using the first wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) survey, this paper examines the influence of peers on adolescent weight. A peer group is defined as a close circle of friends that are identified by a respondent adolescent. After controlling for school fixed effects and for a number of individual, demographic and family characteristics, we find that a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) of close friends is correlated to a higher BMI of the respondent adolescent. However, after instrumental variable analysis is performed, the effect remains significant only among women. We also found that adolescents are more responsive to the body weight of their same gender friends.

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

Volume (Year): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 377-387

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:3:p:377-387
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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  1. Michael Kremer & Dan M. Levy, 2003. "Peer Effects and Alcohol Use Among College Students," NBER Working Papers 9876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
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  4. Clark, Andrew E. & Loheac, Youenn, 2007. ""It wasn't me, it was them!" Social influence in risky behavior by adolescents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 763-784, July.
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  8. Adriaan R. Soetevent, 2006. "Empirics of the Identification of Social Interactions; An Evaluation of the Approaches and Their Results ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(2), pages 193-228, 04.
  9. Lundborg, Petter, 2006. "Having the wrong friends? Peer effects in adolescent substance use," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 214-233, March.
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  12. Alejandro Gaviria & Steven Raphael, 2001. "School-Based Peer Effects And Juvenile Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 257-268, May.
  13. Giorgio Brunello & Beatrice d'Hombres, 2006. "Does Body Weight affect Wages? Evidence from Europe," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0027, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
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  16. Krauth, Brian V., 2006. "Simulation-based estimation of peer effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 243-271, July.
  17. Trogdon, Justin G. & Nonnemaker, James & Pais, Joanne, 2008. "Peer effects in adolescent overweight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1388-1399, September.
  18. Do, D. Phuong & Dubowitz, Tamara & Bird, Chloe E. & Lurie, Nicole & Escarce, Jose J. & Finch, Brian K., 2007. "Neighborhood context and ethnicity differences in body mass index: A multilevel analysis using the NHANES III survey (1988-1994)," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 179-203, July.
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  20. Powell, Lisa M. & Tauras, John A. & Ross, Hana, 2005. "The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 950-968, September.
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