Research Publication Title

Does Obesity Education Affect Adult Obesity?

Major

Economics

Faculty Mentor(s)

John R. Swinton

Abstract

Each year, millions of people die due to obesity, and billions of dollars are spent treating this medical condition. Obesity education is an attempt to address these health problems at a young age, before they develop into more serious health concerns. Does it work? In this paper, I examine the effect of obesity education on adult body mass index (BMI) in order to determine if current methods of teaching obesity education are having the desired outcome. I utilize a nationally representative longitudinal dataset that contains data on BMI, obesity education, family health history, and other relevant variables. After controlling for obesity related family health history, I find that obesity education has a statistically significant, positive impact on one's BMI. This counterintuitive result, suggests that there may be some unintended consequences associated with obesity education. In order to differentiate the effects of obesity education on underweight, normal-weight, and overweight individuals, I analyze the three groups separately. Again, I find that obesity education among overweight individuals has a statistically significant, positive impact on one's BMI.

Start Date

10-4-2015 10:15 AM

End Date

10-4-2015 11:15 AM

Location

HSB 300

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Does Obesity Education Affect Adult Obesity?

HSB 300

Each year, millions of people die due to obesity, and billions of dollars are spent treating this medical condition. Obesity education is an attempt to address these health problems at a young age, before they develop into more serious health concerns. Does it work? In this paper, I examine the effect of obesity education on adult body mass index (BMI) in order to determine if current methods of teaching obesity education are having the desired outcome. I utilize a nationally representative longitudinal dataset that contains data on BMI, obesity education, family health history, and other relevant variables. After controlling for obesity related family health history, I find that obesity education has a statistically significant, positive impact on one's BMI. This counterintuitive result, suggests that there may be some unintended consequences associated with obesity education. In order to differentiate the effects of obesity education on underweight, normal-weight, and overweight individuals, I analyze the three groups separately. Again, I find that obesity education among overweight individuals has a statistically significant, positive impact on one's BMI.