NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by David Newhouse

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Working Papers

June 2005The Impact of State Physical Education Requirements on Youth Physical Activity and Overweight
with John Cawley, Chad D. Meyerhoefer: w11411
To combat childhood overweight, which has risen dramatically in the past three decades, many medical and public health organizations have called for students to spend more time in physical education (PE) classes. This paper is the first to exploit state PE requirements as quasi-natural experiments in order to estimate the causal impact of PE on student activity and weight. We study nationwide data from the YRBSS for 1999, 2001, and 2003 merged with data on state minimum PE requirements from the 1994 and 2000 School Health Policies and Programs Study and the 2001 Shape of the Nation Report.

We find that certain state regulations are effective in raising the number of minutes during which students are active in PE. Our results also indicate that additional PE time raises the number o...

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