Does Higher Education Reduce Body Weight?

Research report

June 2013


Externally reviewed

Evidence using a reform of the student grant scheme

Study Paper No. 54


Written by: Jane Greve and Cecilie D. Weatherall


The number of overweight individuals in Denmark and in many other Western countries has increased significantly over the past 20-30 years, especially among people with relatively few years of education. This study investigates how taking a course of higher education affects body weight among groups of people from different income backgrounds. A reform of the Danish student grant system of 1988, which resulted in a 60 percent increase in maintenance grants to students, was used to elucidate the causal effects of education on body weight. The paper was written in collaboration with the Danish National Centre for Social Research.