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CEP discussion paper

Vertical transmission of overweight: evidence From English adoptees


We examine the vertical transmission of overweight drawing upon a sample of English children, both adopted and non-adopted, and their families. Our results suggest strong evidence of an intergenerational association of overweight between adopted children and their adoptive parents, indicating transmission through cultural factors. We find that, when both adoptive parents are overweight, the likelihood of an adopted child being overweight is between 10 and 20 percentual points higher than when they are not. We also find that the cultural transmission of overweight is not aggravated by having a full-time working mother, so do not confirm the existence of a female labour market participation penalty on child overweight among adoptees. Overall, our findings are robust to a battery of robustness checks and specifications.


Joan Costa Font, Mireia Jofre-Bonet and Julian Le Grand

21 January 2015     Paper Number CEPDP1324

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Community Wellbeing programme.