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Education and obesity at age 40 among American adults

  • Cohen, Alison K.
  • Rehkopf, David H.
  • Deardorff, Julianna
  • Abrams, Barbara
Registered author(s):

    Although many have studied the association between educational attainment and obesity, studies to date have not fully examined prior common causes and possible interactions by race/ethnicity or gender. It is also not clear if the relationship between actual educational attainment and obesity is independent of the role of aspired educational attainment or expected educational attainment. The authors use generalized linear log link models to examine the association between educational attainment at age 25 and obesity (BMI≥30) at age 40 in the USA's National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort, adjusting for demographics, confounders, and mediators. Race/ethnicity but not gender interacted with educational attainment. In a complete case analysis, after adjusting for socioeconomic covariates from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, among whites only, college graduates were less likely than high school graduates to be obese (RR = 0.69, 95%CI: 0.57, 0.83). The risk ratio remained similar in two sensitivity analyses when the authors adjusted for educational aspirations and educational expectations and analyzed a multiply imputed dataset to address missingness. This more nuanced understanding of the role of education after controlling for a thorough set of confounders and mediators helps advance the study of social determinants of health and risk factors for obesity.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953612007836
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 78 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 34-41

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:78:y:2013:i:c:p:34-41
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.11.025
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