Middle school transition and body weight outcomes: Evidence from Arkansas Public Schoolchildren

Di Zeng, Michael R. Thomsen, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Heather L. Rouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


There is evidence that middle school transition adversely affects educational and psychological outcomes of pre-teen children, but little is known about the impacts of middle school transition on other aspects of health. In this article, we estimate the impact of middle school transition on the body mass index (BMI) of public schoolchildren in Arkansas, United States. Using an instrumental variable approach, we find that middle school transition in grade 6 led to a moderate decrease of 0.04 standard deviations in BMI z-scores for all students. Analysis by subsample indicated that this result was driven by boys (0.06-0.07 standard deviations) and especially by non-minority boys (0.09 standard deviations). We speculate that the changing levels of physical activities associated with middle school transition provide the most reasonable explanation for this result.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1


  • Arkansas
  • Body mass index
  • Children
  • Middle school transition
  • Weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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