Quantifying Socioeconomic Inequality in Childhood Obesity

Strathclyde University, Economics Discussion Papers

69 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2021

See all articles by Justus Laugwitz

Justus Laugwitz

University of Edinburgh - School of Economics

Mark Mitchell

University of Edinburgh; Fraser of Allander Institute

Patricio Valdivieso Massa

Heriot-Watt University - Department of Accountancy, Economics and Finance

Date Written: January 2021

Abstract

We use longitudinal data on 11,000 UK-born children to examine the relationship between parental weight and income and children’s overweight across childhood. We find that children are three times as likely to be overweight or obese at 14 if they have an obese parent. Irrespective of their parents’ weight, children in the poorest 20% of families are twice as likely to be overweight or obese. These relationships persist through childhood, strengthen over time, and are impervious to observed behavioural differences between groups. This suggests that differences in shared social and economic circumstances across childhood lead to the emergence of stark inequality in childhood obesity across the income distribution by age 14.

Note:
Funding Statement: Not funded by any grants or sponsorship.

Declaration of Interests: We do not have any competing interests in producing this research

Keywords: Childhood obesity, health, inequality, intergenerational transmission

JEL Classification: I0, I12, I14, J13

Suggested Citation

Laugwitz, Justus and Mitchell, Mark and Valdivieso Massa, Patricio, Quantifying Socioeconomic Inequality in Childhood Obesity (January 2021). Strathclyde University, Economics Discussion Papers, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3739832

Justus Laugwitz

University of Edinburgh - School of Economics ( email )

31 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh, EH8 9JT
United Kingdom

Mark Mitchell (Contact Author)

University of Edinburgh ( email )

31 Buccleuch Place
Edinburgh, EH8 9JT
United Kingdom

Fraser of Allander Institute ( email )

United Kingdom

Patricio Valdivieso Massa

Heriot-Watt University - Department of Accountancy, Economics and Finance ( email )

Scotland
United Kingdom

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