Peer-Effects on Childhood Obesity
This study investigates whether peers are a contributing factor in the increase in childhood obesity rates, and whether peer effects vary by race, gender and residential neighborhood. We control for the commercial food environment around schools and residence when estimating peer effects given that the food environment constitutes an important set of factors that have not been adequately measured and accounted for in previous studies. We find that the weight of peers within the same grade in a school significantly impacts body mass index (BMI) z-score of an individual student. A typical student’s BMI z-score increases when facing heavier peers and it decreases when facing lighter peers. The results show differential peer-effects across race and gender, but more so by gender than by race.
|Date of creation:||2013|
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