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Education, Dietary Intakes and Exercise

Stephanie von Hinke

Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2022, vol. 84, issue 1, 214-240

Abstract: This paper examines the relationship between education and health behaviours, focusing on potential offsetting responses between calories in (i.e. dietary intakes) and calories out (i.e. physical activity). It exploits the 1972 British compulsory schooling law that raised the minimum school leaving age from 15 to 16 to estimate the effects of education on diet and exercise around middle age. Using a regression discontinuity design, the findings suggest that the reform led to a worsening of the quality of the diet, with increases in total calories, fats and animal proteins. However, I find that these changes are partially offset by a discontinuous increase in physical activity. Back‐of‐the‐envelope calculations suggest little effect on the balance of calories. As such, the findings show that focusing on the two components of energy balance provides additional information that is concealed in analyses that only use a measure of obesity.

Date: 2022
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https://doi.org/10.1111/obes.12463

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Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Christopher Adam, Anindya Banerjee, Christopher Bowdler, David Hendry, Adriaan Kalwij, John Knight and Jonathan Temple

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