Flores-Lagunes to study effects of education on obesity, mental health

Alfonso Flores LagunesAlfonso Flores-Lagunes, professor of economics, has received a $169,785 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of educational attainment on obesity and mental health. The award forms part of a three-year project, “Genes, Education, and Gene-Education Interactions in Obesity and Mental Health,” led by Central Michigan University, with CMU’s Vikesh Amin, assistant professor of economics, serving as the principal investigator. The overall project is funded by an NIH Research Project Grant worth $984,812.

Flores-Lagunes’ study will examine whether education improves population health by moderating the underlying genetic risk of being obese and/or depressed. Using econometric methods, the study will explore whether people with a genetic predisposition towards obesity or depression may reduce their risk through higher educational attainment. The study aspires to help tackle obesity and depression, which are associated with diabetes, heart disease, strokes, suicide, and overall lower life expectancy across the United States. According to the research abstract, this new study “will provide a comprehensive array of results and new insights as results from different methods, datasets, across different educational levels, and by gender are compared.”

Flores-Lagunes, also a Melvin A. Eggers Economics Faculty Scholar, serves as a senior research associate at Maxwell’s Center for Policy Research and as a research fellow at the Germany-based Institute for the Study of Labor and at the Global Labor Organization. He is a former visiting fellow at the Industrial Relations Section and the Department of Economics at Princeton University, and a visiting scholar and lecturer at Cornell University, The Ohio State University, CEPS/INSTEAD (Luxembourg), and the Central Bank of Mexico.

09/20/18