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Education, dietary intakes and exercise

Stephanie von Hinke ()

Bristol Economics Discussion Papers from School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK

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: 2021-06-24
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:bri:uobdis:21/748

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