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Spillovers Of Health Education At School On Parents' Physical Activity

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  • Lucila Berniell
  • Dolores Mata
  • Nieves Valdés

Abstract

To prevent modern health conditions like obesity, cancer, cardiovascular illness, and diabetes, which have reached epidemic-like proportions in recent decades, many health experts argue that students should receive Health Education (HED) at school. Although this type of education aims mainly to improve children's health profiles, it might affect other family members as well. This paper exploits state HED reforms as quasi-natural experiments to estimate the causal impact of HED received by children on their parents' physical activity. We use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) for the period 1999-2005 merged with data on state HED reforms from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Health Policy Database, and the 2000 and 2006 School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS). To identify the spillover effects of HED requirements on parents' behavior we use a “differences-in-differences-in-differences" (DDD) methodology in which we allow for different types of treatments. We find a positive effect of HED reforms at the elementary school on the probability of parents doing light physical activity. Introducing major changes in HED increases the probability of fathers engaging in physical activity by 12.4 percentage points, while this probability for mothers does not seem to be affected. We find evidence of two channels that may drive these spillovers. We conclude that the gender specialization of parents in childcare activities, as well as information sharing between children and parents, may play a role in generating these indirect effects and in turn, in shaping healthy lifestyles within the household.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lucila Berniell & Dolores Mata & Nieves Valdés, 2013. "Spillovers Of Health Education At School On Parents' Physical Activity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(9), pages 1004-1020, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:22:y:2013:i:9:p:1004-1020
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.2958
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Cawley, John & Schmeiser, Maximilian D., 2009. "The timing of the rise in U.S. obesity varies with measure of fatness," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 307-318, December.
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    4. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi, 2009. "Indirect Effects of an Aid Program: How Do Cash Transfers Affect Ineligibles' Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 486-508, March.
    5. Jayanta Bhattacharya & Janet Currie & Steven J. Haider, 2006. "Breakfast of Champions?: The School Breakfast Program and the Nutrition of Children and Families," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Tengtrakul, Pitikorn & Peha, Jon M., 2013. "Does ICT in schools affect residential adoption and adult utilization outside schools?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 540-562.
    2. repec:eee:socmed:v:183:y:2017:i:c:p:56-61 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Andre Chagas & Carlos Azzoni & Alexandre Almeida, 2015. "A Spatial Difference-in-Difference Analysis to Measure the Sugarcane Producing Impact in Respiratory Health," ERSA conference papers ersa15p511, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Chagas, André L.S. & Azzoni, Carlos R. & Almeida, Alexandre N., 2016. "A spatial difference-in-differences analysis of the impact of sugarcane production on respiratory diseases," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 24-36.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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