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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-68001-30014 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This work is also partly supported by the Arkansas Biosciences Institute project "The Effect of Food, Home, and Community Environments on Early Childhood Obesity", and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF- 2014S1A3A2044459 ). The authors wish to thank editor Inas Rashad Kelly and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments. The views are solely from the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of either the donor or the authors’ institutions. The usual disclaimer applies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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