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Separating boys and girls and increasing weight? Assessing the impacts of single-sex schools through random assignment in Seoul

Jaesung Choi, Hyunjoon Park and Jere Behrman

Social Science & Medicine, 2015, vol. 134, issue C, 1-11

Abstract: A growing body of research reports associations of school contexts with adolescents' weight and weight-related behaviors. One interesting, but under-researched, dimension of school context that potentially matters for adolescents' weight is the gender composition. If boys and girls are separated into single-sex schools, they might be less concerned about physical appearance, which may result in increased weight. Utilizing a unique setting in Seoul, Korea where students are randomly assigned to single-sex and coeducational schools within school districts, we estimate causal effects of single-sex schools on weight and weight-related behaviors. Our results show that students attending single-sex schools are more likely to be overweight, and that the effects are more pronounced for girls. We also find that girls in single-sex schools are less likely to engage in strenuous activities than their coeducational counterparts.

Keywords: Single-sex schools; Random assignment; Body mass index; Overweight; Korea (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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