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The effects of old and new media on children's weight

  • Agne Suziedelyte

    ()

    (The University of New South Wales)

The aim of this paper is to determine if there is a causal relationship between children's time spent on media related activities and their weight. Since the beginning of 1980s, childhood obesity rates in the U.S. and other developed countries have been increasing. It has been suggested in the literature that changes in children's media use is an important explanation for the observed increase in children's weight. I investigate whether or not this hypothesis is supported by data. Additionally, I compare the e ects of television, or old media, with the e ects of computers and video games, or new media. The Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics is used for the analysis. To address the endogeneity of children's media use, I use the child xed e ects and correlated random effects models. I find no evidence that media use contributes to weight gain among children. On average, a one hour per week increase in a child's video game or computer time is estimated to decrease his/ her body mass index slightly and to not affect signi cantly the probability of being overweight or obese. The estimated effects of television time on weight are not significantly different from zero. These findings, especially the results related to children's computer or video game time, are robust to a number of sensitivity checks. Additionally, there is heterogeneity in the effects of media time by child and family characteristics.

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File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2012-38.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, The University of New South Wales in its series Discussion Papers with number 2012-37.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2012-38
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  1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2008. "Maternal employment and adolescent development," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 958-983, October.
  2. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1994, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2006. "The Connection Between Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: Inspecting the Mechanisms," Caepr Working Papers 2006-020, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  4. Tatiana Andreyeva & Inas Rashad Kelly & Jennifer L. Harris, 2011. "Exposure to Food Advertising On Television: Associations With Children's Fast Food and Soft Drink Consumption and Obesity," NBER Working Papers 16858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Phillip B. Levine, 2002. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Working Paper Series WP-02-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. John Cawley & Feng Liu, 2007. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity: A Search for Mechanisms in Time Use Data," NBER Working Papers 13600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Baum II, Charles L. & Ruhm, Christopher J., 2009. "Age, socioeconomic status and obesity growth," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 635-648, May.
  8. Hung-Hao Chang & Rodolfo M. Nayga, 2009. "Television Viewing, Fast-Food Consumption, And Children'S Obesity," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(3), pages 293-307, 07.
  9. Patricia M. Anderson & Kristin F. Butcher & Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Childhood Disadvantage and Obesity: Is Nurture Trumping Nature?," NBER Chapters, in: The Problems of Disadvantaged Youth: An Economic Perspective, pages 149-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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