OECD Health Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership health studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

Exploring the causal relation between obesity and alcohol use, and educational outcomes

Two of the most important health risk factors for children and young adults are obesity and alcohol use. These risk factors are known to affect health and wellbeing, but may also have an impact on educational outcomes. The objective of this study was to assess a potential causal relationship between obesity or alcohol use, and educational outcomes, in Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Longitudinal data from cohort studies was used to establish temporal precedence. To ensure the absence of alternative explanations, regression models were adjusted for known confounders; instrumental variables were used to address endogeneity caused by reverse causality and potential unobserved confounders; and fixed effects analyses were used to correct for unobserved time-invariant confounders. The results suggest that the presence of obesity during childhood, as well as alcohol consumption during childhood, can have a negative impact on educational performance and future educational attainment.


JEL: I15: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health and Economic Development; I12: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health Behavior; I18: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health; I24: Health, Education, and Welfare / Education and Research Institutions / Education and Inequality
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