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Obesity and skill attainment in early childhood

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  • Cawley, John
  • Spiess, C. Katharina

Abstract

This paper investigates the association between obesity and skill attainment in early childhood (aged 2-3 years). Data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study are used to estimate models of developmental functioning in four critical areas (verbal skills, activities of daily living, motor skills, and social skills) as a function of various measures of weight (including body mass index and obesity) controlling for a rich set of child, parent, and family characteristics. The findings indicate that, among boys, obesity is associated with reduced verbal skills, social skills, motor skills, and activities of daily living. Among girls, obesity is associated with reduced verbal skills. Further investigations show that the correlations exist even for those preschool children who spend no time in day care, which implies that the correlations cannot be due solely to discrimination by teachers, classmates, or day care providers.

Suggested Citation

  • Cawley, John & Spiess, C. Katharina, 2008. "Obesity and skill attainment in early childhood," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 388-397, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:6:y:2008:i:3:p:388-397
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance, 2006. "Interpreting the Evidence on Life Cycle Skill Formation," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Obesity Skill formation Human capital Children Child development Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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