Peer-effects in obesity among public elementary school children: A grade-level analysis

Jebaraj Asirvatham, Rodolfo M. Nayga, Michael R. Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Using a panel dataset at the grade level from Arkansas public schools, this study finds that changes in the obesity prevalence at the oldest grade are associated with changes in obesity prevalence at younger grades. Furthermore, analysis across different school types shows that the peer effects are statistically significant but the magnitude of the effect is greater in kindergarten to fourth-grade schools than in kindergarten to sixth-grade schools. We also use tests on spatial and temporal dimensions, as well as by weight status grouping, to provide evidence that these peer effects are more than just a statistical correlation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-459
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2014.


  • Childhood obesity
  • Health
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Peer effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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