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Family Background, Cultural Capital, Obesity, and Academic Achievement in Childhood

Yu, Baeksan (2020) Family Background, Cultural Capital, Obesity, and Academic Achievement in Childhood. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the dissertation, I attempt to show how and why students’ cultural knowledge and body shape are intertwined, which serve as an underlying mechanism of social and cultural reproduction in childhood. The dissertation consists of two main topics. For the first topic (second chapter), I investigate whether cultural capital matters for childhood obesity. While prior cultural capital studies have primarily focused on students’ affective and cognitive orientations to schooling, I focus on the possible link between cultural capital and obesity as an alternative explanation for reduced educational success among minority students. This study is the first to investigate the longitudinal effects of cultural capital on student body mass index with large scale data. For the second topic (third chapter), I attempt to identify the mediating mechanism in the relationship between childhood obesity and academic achievement. Despite the growing concern about weight stigmatization and discrimination in the US, no empirical studies have investigated possible mediating roles of teacher evaluation on obese children’s academic performance among marginalized subpopulations and have quantified the influence. To do so, I employ the newly released Early Childhood Longitudinal Study kindergarten cohort (ECLS-K: 2011), which is a nationally representative sample of American children who entered kindergarten in 2010-2011. In answering the proposed research questions, I attempt to exploit the advantages of structural equation modeling with a combination of econometric and quasi-experimental methods. The results of this study demonstrate that student cultural activity does reduce the risk of being obese in elementary schooling and that the negative influence of weight stigmatization might be comparable to racial discrimination or even more pronounced for minority girls. Taken together, this study shows us the nuanced ways in which educational and health inequalities are perpetuated or exacerbated in childhood.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Yu, Baeksanpostcentre@pitt.edu0000-0002-1167-2254
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKelly,
Committee MemberShafiq,
Committee MemberCorrenti,
Committee MemberDavis,
Committee MemberFinkel,
Date: 2 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 June 2020
Approval Date: 2 September 2020
Submission Date: 1 August 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 153
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Family Background, Cultural Capital, Childhood Obesity, Weight Bias, Social Stratification of Health
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 16:00
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2022 05:15


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