The role of formal schooling on weight in young children

Chaeyoung Chang, Haeil Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Aim This study examined whether children's exposure to formal schooling has an impact on their weight-related health outcomes, using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999. Methods Considering that children, at similar ages, may have one more or less year of schooling based on their birthdates and school's cut-off dates for Kindergarten enrollment, this natural experimental study compared weight-related health outcomes of the treatment group (children whose birth dates were within three months before the cut-off) and that of the comparison group (children whose birth dates were within three months after the cut-off) using the OLS regression. Results Formal schooling significantly reduced the risk of being obese for initially obese children at the beginning of Kindergarten and did not bring about excessive weight gain problems for initially non-obese children. The beneficial effect of schooling, in reducing recurrent obesity/overweight, was concentrated in boys, Whites, and children who attended schools in states that adopted policies following national or state PE standards, while the adverse effect of schooling, in developing obesity/overweight, was on children who attended school with poor peers and children of the third quintile SES families. Conclusions School-based anti-obesity strategies should be targeted to more susceptible children and schools serving disadvantaged children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov 1


  • Childhood obesity
  • Economic disparity
  • Natural experiment
  • Physical education
  • Schooling
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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