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Parents labor supply and childhood obesity: Evidence from Scotland

Stefani Milovanska-Farrington

Economics & Human Biology, 2020, vol. 38, issue C

Abstract: More than one third of children worldwide are overweight or obese. This epidemic proportion makes obesity the most common chronic disease among children with short and long-term adverse effects on both affected children and society. This research examines the effect of the extensive and intensive margins of parental employment on children’s body mass index (BMI) z-score and likelihood of belonging to different weight status categories in Scotland. We also investigate some mechanisms driving the relationship. The results suggest that there is a positive association between maternal hours worked and child BMI or the probability that a child is overweight or obese. Our analysis of the channels shows that this is attributable to the less time children spend doing physical activity and the more time they watch TV, the more the parents work. The findings are useful for the design of policies whose goal is to improve children’s weight outcomes given parental employment.

Keywords: Childhood obesity; Parental employment; BMI; Physical activity; Family economics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J13 J22 J32 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2020.100897

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