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Exposure to Obesity and Weight Gain among Adolescents

Author

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  • Muzhe Yang

    () (Lehigh University)

  • Rui Huang

    () (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

In a treatment-effect framework using Add Health data, we investigate whether adolescents gain weight when increasingly exposed to obesity in their social networks. We ?nd that weight gain can be a reaction to an increase, but not a decrease, in exposure to obesity that is based on social ties, not geographic proximity. Taking an endogenous growth perspective on the prevalence of obesity, we thus attempt to reveal a mechanism through which obesity may potentially develop into a sweeping epidemic. Our results also suggest an uphill battle against the obesity epidemic, and we recommend that its prevention be a high priority.

Suggested Citation

  • Muzhe Yang & Rui Huang, 2009. "Exposure to Obesity and Weight Gain among Adolescents," Food Marketing Policy Center Research Reports 116, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:zwi:fpcrep:116
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    File URL: http://fmpc.uconn.edu/publications/rr/rr116.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cohen-Cole, Ethan & Fletcher, Jason M., 2008. "Is obesity contagious? Social networks vs. environmental factors in the obesity epidemic," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1382-1387, September.
    2. Cohen-Cole, Ethan, 2006. "Multiple groups identification in the linear-in-means model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 157-162, August.
    3. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald & Bert Van Landeghem, 2009. "Imitative Obesity and Relative Utility," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(2-3), pages 528-538, 04-05.
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