Department of Economics Fall 2019 Brown Bag Series

Loading Map....

Date(s) - 10/07/2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Clark C307

Categories No Categories

The Brown Bag Seminar Series offers current ECON graduate students the opportunity to present ongoing research or to workshop new ideas. The seminars are held on Mondays from 12:00-1:00pm in Clark C307 and are open to everyone.

For more information on the series or specific seminars, please contact Wisnu Nugroho at or Ashish Sedai at

October 7th’s presenter is ECON Ph.D. graduate student Teresa Perry.

Perry will be presenting her paper: “The Long Term Impact of Childhood Exercise Programs.”

Abstract: Studies have shown that the economic and health impacts of obesity are vast. This paper examines the long term effect of in school rigorous exercise programs in grades K through 8th grade on obesity and exercise behavior in adulthood. I hypothesize that rigorous exercise programs keep children from becoming overweight or obese in adulthood by improving their exercise habits. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data is used to obtain information on exercise habits and obesity by state. This dataset originated in 1984 and has performed on average 400,000 survey’s a year through 2017. The survey asks in-depth questions about individual exercise activity every year. I use a difference in difference estimation with Louisiana as the treatment group and Tennessee as the control group because both had similar levels of obesity in 2006. Louisiana implemented a policy enforcing at least one hour of rigorous exercise a day for grades K through 8th starting in 2004. Due to Hurricane Katrina, I test for 2006 onwards. I control for different socioeconomic and demographic factors as well as migration changes. The Census Bureau has in depth state to state migration data by year. This is a control for adults who migrate into Louisiana and Tennessee during the testing period. Results indicate that, within the treated group, there is a 4.5% less chance of being overweight or obese and that the average BMI is less for people exposed to the treatment. This is based on 92,036 observations in the sample. The rigorous childhood exercise program works by reducing inactivity amongst obese people, increasing high physical activity amongst obese people, and decreasing inactivity amongst overweight people. The implications for public policy are substantial. Using cost and benefit analysis, I illustrate that the economic benefit of in school exercise programs far outweighs the economic cost.