Impact of Schooling on Childhood Obesity

Chaeyoung Chang, Indiana University, Bloomington
Haeil Jung, Indiana University, Bloomington

While substantial progress in studying the various risk factors of the childhood obesity epidemic in public schools, few studies investigate the impact of children’s schooling on developing obesity. Thus, this study examines whether children’s exposure to school has a detrimental effect on their weight-related health outcomes employing a Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) on the basis of each school’s cut-off date for children’s admission to kindergarten. Analyzing the data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K), we find that after an additional year of schooling, children of a normal weight at baseline are more likely to be obese, but obese children at baseline are less likely to be obese. These results indicate that while schooling has a slightly detrimental impact on children whose weights were normal, it does reduce weight for already obese children.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Health of Women, Children, and Families