Body weight of Italians: the weight of Education

CEIS Research Paper
In this paper we empirically study the relationship between education attainment and Body Mass Index (BMI), using as theoretical reference an energy balance model. Our data consist of individual level data from eight waves of the Italian survey on life-styles. We use Quantile Regression (QR) technique to study the impact of education along the whole distribution of the BMI and provide evidence that the effect of education on BMI is greater in magnitude for the overweight and the obese. This effect is reinforced (three times greater) once we account for the endogeneity of some of the determinants of BMI (IVQTE). Finally, we adopt a model specification that allows us to test if education is likely to affect BMI indirectly, through channels such as the adoption of better life styles (healthier diet and more sport activities). Results seem to confirm this hypothesis, and this may reveal an important information for policymakers.
Number: 189
Keywords: BMI, Instrumental variables, Quantile regression, IVQTE
JEL codes: C23; I11; L23; I12; I21
Date: Wednesday 23 March 2011
Revision Date: Wednesday 23 March 2011