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Fat and out in Salerno and its province: Adolescent obesity and early school leaving in Southern Italy

  • Barone, Adriana
  • O'Higgins, Niall

We examine the determinants of obesity and its role in influencing early school leaving amongst adolescents in the city of Salerno and its province in Southern Italy. A human capital investment model is employed and this provides a framework within which to analyse the interrelated [`]decisions' regarding schooling and overeating, taking into account the importance of time preference and the differential effects of adolescent obesity for males and females. We find that: (a) there is a strong and robust positive association between obesity and early school leaving; (b) there is evidence to support the notion that this association is the consequence of a causal relation running from obesity to school leaving; and, (c) there are significant gender differences in the nature of this relationship. These findings have important policy implications. In particular: (i) policies aimed at reducing obesity - such as the encouragement of sporting activity or the encouragement of healthier eating habits at school - may also have other beneficial effects through a reduction in early school leaving rates; and, (ii) the significant differences identified between male and female adolescents suggest that the adoption of some gender-specific policy measures would be useful.

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

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 44-57

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:44-57
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