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Is being in school better? The impact of school on children's BMI when starting age is endogenous

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  • Anderson, Patricia M.
  • Butcher, Kristin F.
  • Cascio, Elizabeth U.
  • Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the impact of attending school on body weight and obesity using a regression-discontinuity design. As is the case with academic outcomes, school exposure is related to unobserved determinants of weight outcomes because some families choose to have their child start school late (or early). If one does not account for this endogeneity, it appears that an additional year of school exposure results in a greater BMI and a higher probability of being overweight or obese. When we compare the weight outcomes of similar age children with one versus two years of school exposure due to regulations on school starting age, the significant positive effects disappear, and most point estimates become negative, but insignificant. However, additional school exposure appears to improve weight outcomes of children for whom the transition to elementary school represents a more dramatic change in environment (those who spent less time in childcare prior to kindergarten).

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Cascio, Elizabeth U. & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2011. "Is being in school better? The impact of school on children's BMI when starting age is endogenous," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 977-986.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:30:y:2011:i:5:p:977-986
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.06.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Courtemanche, Charles & Tchernis, Rusty & Zhou, Xilin, 2017. "Parental Work Hours and Childhood Obesity: Evidence Using Instrumental Variables Related to Sibling School Eligibility," IZA Discussion Papers 10739, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Zhou, Song & Awokuse, Titus O., "undated". "Urbanization, Nutrition Transition, and Obesity: Evidence from China," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170458, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Chang, Chaeyoung & Jung, Haeil, 2017. "The role of formal schooling on weight in young children," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-12.
    4. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    5. Yang, Juan & SICULAR, Terry & LAI, Desheng, 2014. "The changing determinants of high school attainment in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 551-566.
    6. Jo, Young, 2014. "What money can buy: Family income and childhood obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 1-12.
    7. Michael Bahrs & Mathias Schumann, 2020. "Unlucky to be young? The long-term effects of school starting age on smoking behavior and health," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 555-600, April.
    8. Andrew James Williams & Katrina M Wyatt & Craig A Williams & Stuart Logan & William E Henley, 2015. "Exploring the Potential of a School Impact on Pupil Weight Status: Exploratory Factor Analysis and Repeat Cross-Sectional Study of the National Child Measurement Programme," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(12), pages 1-23, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Childhood obesity; School health policies; School starting age;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education

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