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Effects of Weight on Children's Educational Achievement

  • Robert Kaestner
  • Michael Grossman

In this paper, we investigate the association between weight and children's educational achievement, as measured by scores on Peabody Individual Achievement Tests in math and reading, and grade attainment. Data for the study came from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), which contains a large, national sample of children between the ages of 5 and 12. We obtained estimates of the association between weight and achievement using several regression model specifications that controlled for a variety of observed characteristics of the child and his or her mother, and time-invariant characteristics of the child. Our results suggest that, in general, children who are overweight or obese have achievement test scores that are about the same as children with average weight.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13764.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13764.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Publication status: published as Kaestner, Robert & Grossman, Michael, 2009. "Effects of weight on children's educational achievement," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 651-661, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13764
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  1. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
  2. Mark R. Rosenzweig & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1994. "Are There Increasing Returns to the Intergenerational Production of Human Capital? Maternal Schooling and Child Intellectual Achievement," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 670-693.
  3. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2003. "On The Specification and Estimation of The Production Function for Cognitive Achievement," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F3-F33, February.
  4. Robert A. Shakotko & Linda N. Edwards & Michael Grossman, 1980. "An Exploration of the Dynamic Relationship between Health and Cognitive Development in Adolescence," NBER Working Papers 0454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joseph J. Sabia, 2007. "The Effect of Body Weight on Adolescent Academic Performance," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 871–900, April.
  6. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  7. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  8. David Rogosa & John Willett, 1985. "Understanding correlates of change by modeling individual differences in growth," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 203-228, June.
  9. Linda N. Edwards & Michael Grossman, 1979. "Adolescent Health, Family Background, and Preventive Medical Care," NBER Working Papers 0398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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