Do Peers Affect Childhood Obesity Outcomes? Peer‐Effect Analysis in Public Schools

20 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2018

See all articles by Jebaraj Asirvatham

Jebaraj Asirvatham

University of Arkansas - Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics

Michael R. Thomsen

University of Arkansas

Rodolfo M. Nayga

University of Arkansas - Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; Norsk institutt for landbruksøkonomisk forskning (NILF)

Heather L. Rouse

Iowa State University

Date Written: February / Février 2018

Abstract

English Abstract: This study investigates whether obese peers are a contributing factor in childhood body‐weight outcomes. Using an instrumental variables method on exogenously assigned peers (i.e., new peers), we find that the weight of peers within the same grade and school significantly impacts body mass index (BMI) z‐score of an individual student. The size of the peer effect, however, is negligible. We find no evidence of interaction between newly assigned peer groups prior to assignment. Furthermore, the obese peers variable is significant only for those peers with whom a student interacts.

French Abstract: Est‐ce que les pairs affectent l’obésité mesurée des enfants? Analyse de l’effet des pairs dans les écoles publiques. Cette étude étudie la question à savoir si les pairs obèses sont un facteur qui contribue à des problèmes de poids chez les autres enfants. À l’aide de la méthode des variables instrumentales appliquée à un ensemble de pairs assignés de façon exogène (c.‐à.‐d., de nouveaux pairs), on découvre que le poids des pairs au même niveau et à la même école a des impacts significatifs sur le score z de l’indice de masse corporelle (IMC) d’un étudiant en particulier. La taille de cet effet des pairs est cependant négligeable. On ne trouve aucun effet d’interaction entre les groupes nouvellement assignés avant l’assignation. De plus, la variable pairs‐obèses est significative seulement si les pairs interagissent avec l’étudiant en question.

Suggested Citation

Asirvatham, Jebaraj and Thomsen, Michael R. and Nayga, Rodolfo M. and Rouse, Heather L., Do Peers Affect Childhood Obesity Outcomes? Peer‐Effect Analysis in Public Schools (February / Février 2018). Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, Vol. 51, Issue 1, pp. 216-235, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3127142 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/caje.12321

Jebaraj Asirvatham (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - Department of Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness ( email )

217 Agriculture Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics ( email )

1301 W. Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics ( email )

55 Dudley Road
New Brunswick, NJ 0801-8520
United States
732-932-9155 ext. 270 (Phone)
732-932-8887 (Fax)

Michael R. Thomsen

University of Arkansas ( email )

Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Rodolfo M. Nayga

University of Arkansas - Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences ( email )

United States

Norsk institutt for landbruksøkonomisk forskning (NILF)

NO-0030 Oslo
Norway

Heather L. Rouse

Iowa State University

613 Wallace Road
Ames, IA 50011-2063
United States

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