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Fat and Out in Salerno and Province: Adolescent Obesity and Early School Leaving in Southern Italy

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  • Barone, Adriana

    () (University of Salerno)

  • O'Higgins, Niall

    () (ILO International Labour Organization)

Abstract

In this paper, we focus on the causes and consequences of adolescent obesity from an economic perspective. The paper examines the determinants of obesity and its role in influencing early school leaving amongst adolescents in the province of Salerno in Southern Italy. A simple human capital investment model is employed and this provides a framework within which to analyse the interrelated 'decisions' regarding schooling and overeating, taking into account the importance of time preference and the differential effects of adolescent obesity for males and females. We find that: a) there is a strong and robust positive effect of obesity on early school leaving; b) there are significant gender differences in the nature of this relationship; and, c) although not statistically significant, there is support for the idea that contextual factors – such as the type of school attended - are important in determining the effects of obesity on early school leaving. These findings have important policy implications. In particular, evidence on the positive causal link running from obesity to early school leaving suggests: i) that action aimed at reducing obesity – such as the encouragement of sporting activity - may also have beneficial effects in terms of reducing early school leaving rates; ii) the introduction of financial incentives to encourage educational participation; and, iii) the significant differences identified between young men and young women suggest the adoption of some gender- specific policy measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Barone, Adriana & O'Higgins, Niall, 2009. "Fat and Out in Salerno and Province: Adolescent Obesity and Early School Leaving in Southern Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 4229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4229
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    Cited by:

    1. BARONE, Adriana & NESE, Annamaria, 2014. "Body Weight and Academic Performance: Gender and Peer Effects," CELPE Discussion Papers 129, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    2. Barone, Adriana & Nese, Annamaria, 2015. "Body Weight and Gender: Academic Choice and Performance," MPRA Paper 68450, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. BARONE, Adriana & NESE, Annamaria, 2017. "Investment in Education, Obesity and Health Behaviours," CELPE Discussion Papers 146, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    4. Brunello, Giorgio & Labartino, Giovanna, 2014. "Regional differences in overweight rates: The case of Italian regions," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 12(C), pages 20-29.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    obesity; early school-leaving;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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