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Schooling, health knowledge and obesity

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  • Rodolfo Nayga

Abstract

The connection between schooling and health is well documented. An important empirical issue that needs to be examined, however, is whether schooling's effects are due to individual health knowledge differences. This empirical study examines this issue with an increasingly important health indicator, obesity. Since provision of health knowledge is a major tool of public agencies promoting health, this empirical study uses a new direct measure of health knowledge to test this hypothesis. The results show that knowledge is inversely related to the probability that an individual is obese. Schooling's effects on relative weight and the probability of being obese are explained by differences in knowledge. This result may imply that schooling's effect on the allocative efficiency of the household production of health is the main reason schooling is linked to health behaviour. The result also may imply that the most effective method of health education is to highlight the disease element of poor dietary habits and health. More importantly, the simulations conducted suggest positive returns to knowledge based on improvements in the probability estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodolfo Nayga, 2000. "Schooling, health knowledge and obesity," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(7), pages 815-822.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:32:y:2000:i:7:p:815-822
    DOI: 10.1080/000368400322156
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert T. Michael, 1972. "The Effect of Education on Efficiency in Consumption," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number mich72-1.
    2. Robert T. Michael, 1972. "Introduction to "The Effect of Education on Efficiency in Consumption"," NBER Chapters,in: The Effect of Education on Efficiency in Consumption, pages 3-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    1. Angulo, Ana María & Barberán, Ramón & Egea, Pilar & Mur, Jesús, 2011. "An analysis of health expenditure on a microdata population basis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 169-180.
    2. Angulo, Ana Maria & Mtimet, Nadhem & Gil, Jose Maria, 2008. "Análisis de la demanda de alimentos en España considerando el impacto de la dieta sobre la salud," Economia Agraria y Recursos Naturales, Spanish Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 8(2).
    3. Liu, Jin-Tan & Tsou, Meng-Wen & Hammitt, James K., 2009. "Willingness to pay for weight-control treatment," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 211-218, July.
    4. Amarasinghe, Anura & D'Souza, Gerard E. & Brown, Cheryl & Borisova, Tatiana, 2006. "The Impact of Socioeconomic and Spatial Differences on Obesity in West Virginia," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21159, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen & Salm, Martin, 2011. "Does schooling affect health behavior? Evidence from the educational expansion in Western Germany," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 862-872, October.
    6. Vincenzo Atella & Joanna Kopinska, 2011. "Body weight of Italians: the weight of Education," CEIS Research Paper 189, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 23 Mar 2011.
    7. Gathmann, Christina & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2015. "Compulsory schooling reforms, education and mortality in twentieth century Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 74-82.
    8. Zhuo Chen & Steven Yen & David Eastwood, 2007. "Does smoking have a causal effect on weight reduction?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 49-67, March.
    9. Maennig, Wolfgang & Schicht, Tobias & Sievers, Tim, 2008. "Determinants of obesity: The case of Germany," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2523-2534, December.
    10. Robert Scharff, 2009. "Obesity and Hyperbolic Discounting: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 3-21, March.
    11. Staudigel, Matthias, 2012. "On The Application Of Household Production Theory To Health And Nutrition," 52nd Annual Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, September 26-28, 2012 137389, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    12. Huang, Chung L. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2004. "Prevalence Of Childhood Overweight Among Low-Income Households," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20262, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Martin, Molly A. & Frisco, Michelle L. & Nau, Claudia & Burnett, Kristin, 2012. "Social stratification and adolescent overweight in the United States: How income and educational resources matter across families and schools," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(4), pages 597-606.
    14. Cavaliere, Alessia & De Marchi, Elisa & Banterle, Alessandro, 2013. "Time Preference and Health: The Problem of Obesity," 2013 International European Forum, February 18-22, 2013, Innsbruck-Igls, Austria 164754, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
    15. Kemptner, Daniel & Jürges, Hendrik & Reinhold, Steffen, 2011. "Changes in compulsory schooling and the causal effect of education on health: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 340-354, March.
    16. von Hippel, Paul T. & Lynch, Jamie L., 2014. "Why are educated adults slim—Causation or selection?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 131-139.
    17. Lynch, Jamie L. & von Hippel, Paul T., 2016. "An education gradient in health, a health gradient in education, or a confounded gradient in both?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 18-27.
    18. Loureiro, Maria L. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr., 2005. "Obesity Rates in OECD Countries: An International Perspective," 2005 International Congress, August 23-27, 2005, Copenhagen, Denmark 24454, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    19. Yiwei Qian & Rodolfo M. Nayga & Michael R. Thomsen & Heather L. Rouse, 2016. "The Effect of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program on Childhood Obesity," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 260-275.
    20. Martha Claudia Rodríguez Villalobos & Erick Rangel González, 2015. "¿Tener obesidad es realmente una desventaja en el mercado laboral mexicano?," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(2), pages 35-62, November.
    21. Loureiro, Maria L. & Nayga, Rodolfo M., Jr., 2004. "Analyzing Cross-Country Differences In Obesity Rates: Some Policy Implications," 2004 Annual meeting, August 1-4, Denver, CO 20209, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    22. Donald Kenkel & Dean Lillard & Alan Mathios, 2006. "The Roles of High School Completion and GED Receipt in Smoking and Obesity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 635-660, July.
    23. Just, David R., 2006. "Behavioral Economics, Food Assistance, and Obesity," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 35(2), October.

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