Racial Differences in BMI Across the Lifecourse Using Socioeconomic Status Open Access

Tyus, Shakyra (Fall 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2j62s5907?locale=en



Currently, obesity impacts over 17% of children and adolescents globally. Children who are obese and overweight are at higher risk to develop poor health outcomes. Although biological factors have been found to be associated with adolescence and adulthood, social factors (e.g. stress, socioeconomic status (SES), and race) and environmental factors seem to have similar trends with obesity continuing through adulthood.


The relationship between childhood SES and obesity was explored using data collected from recruited pregnant women and offspring living in California between 1959-1967 as part of the Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between childhood SES and the odds of obesity at age 9-11, 15-17 and at 50 year follow ups adjusting for potential confounders. Gender and race were assessed as potential effect measure modifiers. 


In adjusted analyses, low childhood SES was statistically significantly associated with a higher odds of obesity in adolescence (OR = 2.10, (95% CI: 1.01, 4.37)). The observed inverse association was stronger among black, non-Hispanics, (OR = 2.59, (95% CI: 0.72, 9.29), albeit this was not statistically significant. Gender and other social factors did not impact the association between child SES and the odds of obesity across all time points.


In summary, our findings suggest that race differences were found while adjusting for demographic and/or sociodemographic factors along the association between low childhood SES and the odds of obesity in adolescence. Race should be considered in understanding the persistence of obesity across the life course. Our research suggest that the effect of the association between child SES and the odds of obesity is inconclusive due to sample size.

Table of Contents

I: Background/ Literature Review

II: Methods

III: Results

IV: Discussion

V: Strengths and Limitations

VI: References

VII: Tables, Figures, and Figure Legends

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