(Forthcoming at the American Journal of Public Health, with Breanca Thomas)
Objectives. We examine the association between school-based obesity policies, social capital, and self-reported weight-control behaviors among adolescents. We focused on how the collective roles of community and adopted policies affect gender groups differently.
Methods. We estimated state-level ecologic models using one-way random-effects SUR estimation based on panel data from 1991 to 2009. Multiplicative interaction terms were used to assess how social capital condition the effects of school-based obesity policies.
Results. More school-based obesity policies within active communities are mixed in improving weight-control behaviors. They increase both healthy and unhealthy weight-control behaviors among boys, but do not increase healthy weight-control behaviors among girls.
Conclusions. Social capital is an important contextual factor that conditions policy effectiveness at large scales. Heterogeneous behavioral responses were associated to both school-based obesity policies and social capital. The results suggest that building social capital and developing policy programs to balance outcomes for both gender groups may be challenging in managing childhood obesity.