Childhood Obesity, Academic Achievement, and School Expenditures
The authors examine whether childhood obesity affects student achievement and whether these effects differ by family income level. Although childhood obesity is a national concern, the issue is even more urgent in West Virginia where obesity rates for fifth graders are near 30 percent. Using a 20032007 panel of school district data, the authors find evidence that obesity negatively affects reading proficiency in high poverty districts, but obesity rates have little effect in lower poverty districts. The authors estimate that it would require a substantial increase in instructional education spending to offset the obesity effects on academic achievement in high poverty districts.
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