The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children
John Cawley (),
David Frisvold () and
No 18341, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
In response to the dramatic rise in childhood obesity, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations have advocated increasing the time that elementary school children spend in physical education (PE) classes. However, little is known about the effect of PE on child weight. This paper measures that effect by instrumenting for child PE time with state policies, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K) for 1998-2004. Results from IV models indicate that PE lowers BMI z-score and reduces the probability of obesity among 5th graders (in particular, boys), while the instrument is insufficiently powerful to reliably estimate effects for younger children. This represents some of the first evidence of a causal effect of PE on youth obesity, and thus offers at least some support to the assumptions behind the CDC recommendations. We find no evidence that increased PE time crowds out time in academic courses or has spillovers to achievement test scores.
JEL-codes: H75 I12 I18 I21 K32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-edu, nep-hea, nep-lab and nep-ure
Note: CH ED HE LE PE
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11) Track citations by RSS feed
Published as Cawley, John, David Frisvold, and Chad Meyerhoefer. "The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children." Journal of Health Economics, 2013, 32(4): 743-755.
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: The impact of physical education on obesity among elementary school children (2013)
Working Paper: The Impact of Physical Education on Obesity among Elementary School Children (2012)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18341
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().