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Born to be wide? Exploring correlations in mother and adolescent body mass index

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Heather BrownORCiD


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The channels contributing to the intergenerational correlation in body mass are not well understood. A novel decomposition approach from quantitative genetics is used to estimate the contribution of maternal characteristics, household income, and adolescent behaviours on the intergenerational correlation in BMI. The analysis uses data on mothers and their adolescent children from the British Household Panel Survey. The overall intergenerational correlation in BMI is 0.25. Maternal educational attainment and adolescent participation in daily physical activity are the largest contributing factors to the intergenerational correlation in BMI. Maternal employment and high daily television viewing by the adolescent are also contributing factors. Overall, observable characteristics explain 11.2% of the intergenerational correlation in BMI.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brown H, Roberts J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Economic Letters

Year: 2013

Volume: 120

Issue: 3

Pages: 413-415

Print publication date: 01/09/2013

ISSN (print): 0165-1765

ISSN (electronic): 1873-7374

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2013.05.022


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