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Peer Effects on Obesity in a Sample of European Children

Author

Listed:
  • Gwozdz, Wencke

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Sousa-Poza, Alfonso

    () (University of Hohenheim)

  • Reisch, Lucia A.

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Bammann, Karin

    () (University of Bremen)

  • Eiben, Gabriele

    () (University of Gothenburg)

  • Kourides, Yiannis

    () (Research and Education Institute of Child Health, Cyprus)

  • Kovács, Eva

    () (University of Pecs)

  • Lauria, Fabio

    () (National Research Council, Italy)

  • Konstabel, Kenn

    () (University of Tartu)

  • Santaliestra-Pasias, Alba M.

    () (University of Zaragoza)

  • Vyncke, Krishna

    () (Ghent University)

  • Pigeot, Iris

    () (University of Bremen)

Abstract

This study analyzes peer effects on childhood obesity using data from the first two waves of the IDEFICS study, which applies several anthropometric and other measures of fatness to approximately 14,000 children aged two to nine participating in both waves in 16 regions of eight European countries. Peers are defined as same-sex children in the same school and age group. The results show that peer effects do exist in this European sample but that they differ among both regions and different fatness measures. Peer effects are larger in Spain, Italy, and Cyprus – the more collectivist regions in our sample – while waist circumference generally gives rise to larger peer effects than BMI. We also provide evidence that parental misperceptions of their own children's weight goes hand in hand with fatter peer groups, supporting the notion that in making such assessments, parents compare their children's weight with that of friends and schoolmates.

Suggested Citation

  • Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Reisch, Lucia A. & Bammann, Karin & Eiben, Gabriele & Kourides, Yiannis & Kovács, Eva & Lauria, Fabio & Konstabel, Kenn & Santaliestra-Pasias, Alba M. & Vyncke, , 2015. "Peer Effects on Obesity in a Sample of European Children," IZA Discussion Papers 9051, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9051
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gwozdz, Wencke & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & Reisch, Lucia A. & Ahrens, Wolfgang & Eiben, Gabriele & M. Fernandéz-Alvira, Juan & Hadjigeorgiou, Charalampos & De Henauw, Stefaan & Kovács, Eva & Lauria, Fabio, 2013. "Maternal employment and childhood obesity – A European perspective," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 728-742.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zeng, Di & Thomsen, Michael R. & Nayga, Rodolfo M. & Rouse, Heather L., 2016. "Middle school transition and body weight outcomes: Evidence from Arkansas Public Schoolchildren," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 64-74.
    2. Nie, Peng & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso & He, Xiaobo, 2015. "Peer effects on childhood and adolescent obesity in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 47-69.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    obesity; children; peer effects; Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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