Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2023, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (12): 85-99.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2023.12.008

Previous Articles     Next Articles

Is Weight Influenced by Peers: An Empirical Research Based on Classroom Units

Sihui Du1, Gang Cheng2, Wenshan Yu2   

  1. 1. Graduate School of Education, Peking University, Beiing 100871, China
    2. Faculty of Educaiton, Beijing Normal University, Beiing 100875, China
  • Online:2023-12-01 Published:2023-11-27


The research of peer effects on weight is important for clarifying the generating process of abnormal weight, as well as promoting the social governance of adolescent physical health development. Based on the social interaction theory and a combination of data from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 academic years of the China Education Panel Survey (CEPS), this study aimed to identify the weight peer effect of adolescents within classes and the underlying mechanisms. It was found that there was a weight peer effect within the class unit, with peer mean BMI and peer overweight and obesity rates significantly and positively affecting individual BMI. The results consistently held after controlling for contextual and corrlated effects, performing instrumental variable treatment, and conducting robustness tests. Further mechanism analysis showed that weight perception played a moderating role in the occurrence of the weight peer effect, and that overestimating one’s own weight significantly weakened the weight peer effect, while underestimating one’s own weight has no effect on it. Accordingly, it was demonstrated that the countermeasures against abnormal weight of adolescents in the school context have good externalities, and suggestions such as reasonable allocation of health education resources, enrichment of health education work content, and close attention to social experiences of student groups were proposed.

Key words: weight, overweight, obesity, peer effect, classroom