Peer Effects on Obesity in a Sample of European Children

28 Pages Posted: 18 May 2015

See all articles by Wencke Gwozdz

Wencke Gwozdz

Copenhagen Business School; University of Hohenheim

Alfonso Sousa-Poza

University of Hohenheim - Institute of Household and Consumer Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Lucia A. Reisch

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Management, Society and Communication; Zeppelin University CCMP - Center for Consumer Markets Politics

Karin Bammann

University of Bremen

Gabriele Eiben

University of Gothenburg

Yiannis Kourides

Research and Education Institute of Child Health (Strovolos)

Eva Kovács

University of Pécs

Fabio Lauria

Italian National Research Council (CNR)

Kenn Konstabel

University of Tartu

Alba Santaliestra-Pasias

University of Zaragoza

Krishna Vyncke

Ghent University

Iris Pigeot

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.

Keywords: peer effects, children, obesity, Europe

JEL Classification: I12, J13, J22

Suggested Citation

Gwozdz, Wencke and Sousa-Poza, Alfonso and Reisch, Lucia A. and Bammann, Karin and Eiben, Gabriele and Kourides, Yiannis and Kovacs, Eva and Lauria, Fabio and Konstabel, Kenn and Santaliestra-Pasias, Alba and Vyncke, Krishna and Pigeot, Iris, Peer Effects on Obesity in a Sample of European Children. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9051, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2606904

Wencke Gwozdz (Contact Author)

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark
+4538153391 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cbs.dk/staff/wg

University of Hohenheim ( email )

Germany

Alfonso Sousa-Poza

University of Hohenheim - Institute of Household and Consumer Economics ( email )

Fruwirthstrasse 48
Kavaliershaus 4 116
70599 Stuttgart
Germany
++49 (0)711/459-22863 (Phone)
++49 (0)711/459-23953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-hohenheim.de/hhoek/englisch/people/alfonsosousapoza/index.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Lucia A. Reisch

Copenhagen Business School - Department of Management, Society and Communication ( email )

Solbjerg Plads 3
Frederiksberg C, DK - 2000
Denmark

Zeppelin University CCMP - Center for Consumer Markets Politics ( email )

Am Seemooser Horn 20
Friedrichshafen, Lake Constance 88045
Germany

Karin Bammann

University of Bremen

Universitaetsallee GW I
Bremen, 28365
Germany

Gabriele Eiben

University of Gothenburg

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Yiannis Kourides

Research and Education Institute of Child Health (Strovolos)

Strovolos
Cyprus

Eva Kovacs

University of Pécs

Rakoczi 80
Pecs, 7622
Hungary

Fabio Lauria

Italian National Research Council (CNR)

Via San Martino della battaglia, 44
Roma, 00185
Italy

Kenn Konstabel

University of Tartu

Ülikooli 18
Tartu 50090, 50090
Estonia

Alba Santaliestra-Pasias

University of Zaragoza

Gran Via 2
Zaragoza, 50005
Spain

Krishna Vyncke

Ghent University

Coupure Links 653
Gent, 9000
Belgium

Iris Pigeot

University of Bremen

Universitaetsallee GW I
Bremen, D-28334
Germany

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