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A Public Health Approach to Childhood Obesity: The Role of Econometrics

Gibson, Laura A (2016) A Public Health Approach to Childhood Obesity: The Role of Econometrics. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity in the United Kingdom is of great interest to public health policy makers and guidance developers such as NICE, as well as the general public. In order to develop effective policies, the causes of childhood obesity need to be better understood. Analysing the Millennium Cohort Survey, this thesis uses econometric techniques to investigate the relationships between childhood obesity, family lifestyle behaviours and child health outcomes. The first empirical chapter investigates the causal effects of breastfeeding behaviours on obesity during early childhood, a topic which has been of particular interest to NICE. There is a small but statistically significant influence suggesting that breastfeeding should be one part of a wider effort to reduce obesity by influencing lifestyle, such as Change4Life. These effects appear to increase in magnitude and significance as children get older suggesting that the dynamics of lifestyle and childhood obesity should be investigated further. The second empirical chapter investigates the relationship between underlying family lifestyle and childhood obesity using a dynamic framework. Childhood obesity is one of the strongest predictors of obesity in adulthood. If lifestyle is learnt in childhood and is persistent then this could exacerbate the problem of childhood obesity. Amongst other findings, this chapter concludes that childhood weight status significantly depends on family lifestyle. The final empirical chapter extends this model and allows the effects of both family lifestyle and underlying health on childhood obesity to be investigated. Childhood weight is a significant outcome measure of underlying child health after the age of five. The results suggest that policies should target various lifestyle behaviours simultaneously by improving underlying lifestyle through education and improved understanding and enabling families to make positive changes.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > School of Health and Related Research (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.686507
Depositing User: Dr Laura A Gibson
Date Deposited: 26 May 2016 15:25
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 13:12
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13026

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