Evaluating the Effects of Nutritional Intake During Adolescence on Educational Attainment and Labor Market Earnings as an Adult

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Connell, Mikaela
Educational Attainment; Adult Earnings; Adolescent Nutrition; Economics; Education Economics; Health and Physical Education; Health Economics; Income Distribution
thesis / dissertation description
In this thesis, I analyze whether nutritional intake at the time of adolescence can impact academic attainment and earnings later on in life. Millions of children in the United States are living in food insecure households and do not have access to an adequate nutritious diet. Since adolescence is a time period of intense growth and development, it is essential to meet nutritional needs at this time. Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), I measure the nutrition of a nationally representative sample of youth in the United States through their daily food intake, and test the effects nutrition during adolescence has on future outcomes. I find a positive relationship between healthy eating and educational achievement, as well as a negative relationship between unhealthy eating and educational attainment. Nutrition has a smaller effect on earnings, but the results show that there is a minor negative relationship between healthy eating and earnings.