CitationBrunello, Giorgio; Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna; & Terskaya, Anastasia (2020). Not only in my genes: The effects of peers’ genotype on obesity. Journal of Health Economics, 72.
AbstractWe use data from three waves of Add Health to study the short- and long-run effects of high school peers’ genetic predisposition to high BMI—measured by grade-mates’ average BMI polygenic scores—on adolescent and adult obesity in the U.S. We find that, in the short-run, a one standard deviation increase in peers’ average BMI polygenic scores raises the probability of obesity for females by 2.8% points, about half the size of the effect induced by a one standard deviation increase in one's own polygenic score. No significant effect is found for males. In the long-run, however, the social-genetic effect fades away, while the effect of one's own genetic risk for BMI increases substantially. We suggest that mechanisms explaining the short-run effect for females include changes in nutrition habits and a distorted perception of body size.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleJournal of Health Economics