Some Students are Bigger than Others, Some Students’ Peers are Bigger than Other Students’ Peers
This paper analyses the extent to which peer influence on adolescent weight differs in a typical southern European country and in the United States, two geographical areas characterised by different economic, socio-cultural and environmental patterns. Our study is based on a survey of secondary school students containing a rich set of personal data and a wide range of school characteristics and parental backgrounds. After accounting for a large set of control factors and controlling for a combination of school- and neighbourhood-specific fixed effects, instrumental variable estimation and alternative definitions of peers, our results support a more powerful positive and significant effect of friends’ mean BMI on adolescent weight than that reported in previous US-based research.
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