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Measures of the intergenerational transmission of body mass index between mothers and their children in the United States, 1981-2004

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  • Classen, Timothy J.

Abstract

This research provides estimates of the intergenerational persistence of body mass index (BMI) between women and their children when both are at similar stages of the lifecycle. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) and the Young Adults of the NLSY79, associations between the weight status of women and their children are measured when both generations are between the ages of 16 and 24. In the entire sample, the measured intergenerational correlation of BMI is significantly different from zero and equal to 0.35. This result differs by gender with a BMI correlation between female children and their mothers of 0.38, compared to a significantly lower BMI correlation of 0.32 between mothers and their sons. Measures of this relationship across the distribution of BMI using quantile regression and quadrant dependence techniques indicate that the intergenerational persistence of BMI is strongest at higher levels of BMI. Strong dependence across generations is found when categorical outcomes of obesity and overweight are implemented. These results provide evidence of the strong persistence of weight problems across generations which may affect economic mobility within families.

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  • Classen, Timothy J., 2010. "Measures of the intergenerational transmission of body mass index between mothers and their children in the United States, 1981-2004," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 30-43, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:1:p:30-43
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    Cited by:

    1. Huong Thu Le & Ha Trong Nguyen, 2015. "Intergenerational Transmission in Health: Causal estimates from fixed effects instrumental variables models for two cohorts of Australian children," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1509, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.
    2. Lindahl, Mikael & Lundberg, Evelina & Palme, Mårten & Simeonova, Emilia, 2016. "Parental Influences on Health and Longevity: Lessons from a Large Sample of Adoptees," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2016:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    3. Heather Brown & Jennifer Roberts, 2012. "Born to Be Wide? Exploring Correlations in Mother and Adolescent Body Mass Index Using Data from the British Household Panel Survey," Working Papers 2012019, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
    4. Thompson, Owen, 2014. "Genetic mechanisms in the intergenerational transmission of health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 132-146.
    5. Classen, Timothy J. & Thompson, Owen, 2016. "Genes and the intergenerational transmission of BMI and obesity," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 121-133.
    6. Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2015. "Persistence in body mass index in a recent cohort of US children," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 17(C), pages 157-176.
    7. repec:pal:easeco:v:43:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1057_s41302-016-0079-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Apouey, Bénédicte H. & Geoffard, Pierre-Yves, 2016. "Parents’ education and child body weight in France: The trajectory of the gradient in the early years," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 70-89.
    9. Akbulut-Yuksel, Mevlude & Kugler, Adriana D., 2016. "Intergenerational persistence of health: Do immigrants get healthier as they remain in the U.S. for more generations?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 136-148.
    10. Andreella, Claudia & Karlsson, Martin & Nilsson, Therese & Westphal, Matthias, 2015. "The long shadows of past insults intergenerational transmission of health over 130 years," Ruhr Economic Papers 571, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    11. Joan Costa-i-Font & Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Julian Le Grand, 2015. "Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees," CESifo Working Paper Series 5351, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Costa-Font, J. & Jofre-Bonet, M. & Le Grand, J., 2016. "Vertical Transmission of Overweight: Evidence from English Adoptees," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/05, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    13. Dolton, Peter & Xiao, Mimi, 2017. "The intergenerational transmission of body mass index across countries," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 140-152.
    14. Bénédicte H. Apouey & Pierre-Yves Geoffard, 2015. "Parents' education and child body weight in France: The trajectory of the gradient in the early years," Working Papers halshs-01223321, HAL.
    15. Costa-Font, Joan & Gil, Joan, 2013. "Intergenerational and socioeconomic gradients of child obesity," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 29-37.
    16. Dolton, Peter & Xiao, Mimi, 2015. "The intergenerational transmission of BMI in China," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 90-113.
    17. Walsh, Brendan & Cullinan, John, 2015. "Decomposing socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity: Evidence from Ireland," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 60-72.

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