IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Peer Effects, Fast Food Consumption and Adolescent Weight Gain

  • Bernard Fortin
  • Myra Yazbeck

This paper aims at opening the black box of peer effects in adolescent weight gain. Using Add Health data on secondary schools in the U.S., we investigate whether these effects partly flow through the eating habits channel. Adolescents are assumed to interact through a friendship social network. We first propose a social interaction model of fast food consumption using a generalized spatial autoregressive approach. We exploit results by Bramoullé, Djebbari and Fortin (2009) which show that intransitive links within a network (i.e., a friend of one of my friends is not my friend) help identify peer effects. The model is estimated using maximum likelihood and generalized 2SLS strategies. We also estimate a panel dynamic weight gain production function relating an adolescent's Body Mass Index (BMI) to his current fast food consumption and his lagged BMI level. Results show that there are positive significant peer effects in fast food consumption among adolescents belonging to a same friendship school network. The estimated social multiplier is 1.59. Our results also suggest that, at the network level, an extra day of weekly fast food restaurant visits increases BMI by 2.4%, when peer effects are taken into account. Cet article a pour but d'ouvrir la boîte noire des effets de pairs dans les gains de poids chez les adolescents. À partir des données Add Health sur les écoles secondaires aux États-Unis, nous étudions si ces effets découlent en partie des habitudes alimentaires. On suppose que les adolescents interagissent dans le cadre d'un réseau social d'amitié. Nous proposons une analyse des interactions sociales de consommation de malbouffe à l'aide d'un modèle autorégressif spatial généralisé. Nous exploitons les résultats de Bramoullé, Djebbari et Fortin (2009) qui montrent que les liens intransitifs à l'intérieur d'un réseau (i.e., un ami d'un de mes amis n'est pas mon ami) aide à l'identification des effets de pairs. Le modèle est estimé à partir de méthodes de maximum de vraisemblance et de variables instrumentales généralisées. Nous estimons en outre une fonction dynamique de gain de poids reliant l'indice de masse corporelle de l'adolescent (IMC) à sa consommation courante de malbouffe et à son niveau retardée d'IMC. Nos résultats montrent qu'il existe des effets de pairs positifs et significatifs dans la consommation de malbouffe parmi les adolescents appartenant au même réseau d'amis de l'école. Le multiplicateur social est de 1,59. Nos résultats suggèrent de plus qu'au niveau du réseau social, une journée additionnelle de consommation hebdomadaire dans un restaurant de malbouffe augmente l'IMC de 2,4 %, lorsque les effets de pairs sont pris en compte.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2011s-20.

in new window

Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-20
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1130 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, suite 1400, Montréal, Quéc, H3A 2M8
Phone: (514) 985-4000
Fax: (514) 985-4039
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. M. Christopher Auld & Lisa M. Powell, 2009. "Economics of Food Energy Density and Adolescent Body Weight," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(304), pages 719-740, October.
  2. Millimet, Daniel L. & McDonough, Ian K., 2013. "Dynamic Panel Data Models with Irregular Spacing: With Applications to Early Childhood Development," IZA Discussion Papers 7359, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Olga Yakusheva & Kandice A. Kapinos & Daniel Eisenberg, 2014. "Estimating Heterogeneous and Hierarchical Peer Effects on Body Weight Using Roommate Assignments as a Natural Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(1), pages 234-261.
  4. Alviola, Pedro A. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Thomsen, Michael R. & Danforth, Diana & Smartt, James, 2014. "The effect of fast-food restaurants on childhood obesity: A school level analysis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 110-119.
  5. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Jason M. Fletcher, 2008. "Is obesity contagious?: social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  6. Janet Currie & Stefano DellaVigna & Enrico Moretti & Vikram Pathania, 2010. "The Effect of Fast Food Restaurants on Obesity and Weight Gain," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 32-63, August.
  7. Dunn, Richard A. & Sharkey, Joseph R. & Horel, Scott, 2012. "The effect of fast-food availability on fast-food consumption and obesity among rural residents: An analysis by race/ethnicity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-13.
  8. Gerdie Everaert, 2013. "Orthogonal to backward mean transformation for dynamic panel data models," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 16(2), pages 179-221, 06.
  9. Lung-fei Lee, 2003. "Best Spatial Two-Stage Least Squares Estimators for a Spatial Autoregressive Model with Autoregressive Disturbances," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(4), pages 307-335.
  10. Kelejian, Harry H. & Prucha, Ingmar R., 2010. "Specification and estimation of spatial autoregressive models with autoregressive and heteroskedastic disturbances," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 157(1), pages 53-67, July.
  11. Eleonora Patacchini & Xiaodong Liu & Edoardo Rainone, 2013. "The Allocation of Time in Sleep: A Social Network Model with Sampled Data," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 162, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  12. Renna, Francesco & Grafova, Irina B. & Thakur, Nidhi, 2008. "The effect of friends on adolescent body weight," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 377-387, December.
  13. Trogdon, Justin G. & Nonnemaker, James & Pais, Joanne, 2008. "Peer effects in adolescent overweight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1388-1399, September.
  14. Powell, Lisa M., 2009. "Fast food costs and adolescent body mass index: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 963-970, September.
  15. Kelejian, Harry H & Prucha, Ingmar R, 1998. "A Generalized Spatial Two-Stage Least Squares Procedure for Estimating a Spatial Autoregressive Model with Autoregressive Disturbances," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 99-121, July.
  16. Michael L. Anderson & David A. Matsa, 2011. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 152-88, January.
  17. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
  18. Mir M. Ali & Aliaksandr Amialchuk & Francesco Renna, 2011. "Social Network and Weight Misperception among Adolescents," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 827-842, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.