Dynamic poverty experiences and development of overweight in a prospective cohort of US children aged 4-14 years

Authors

  • Clarie E. Margerison-Zilko,

    Corresponding author
    1. Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
    • School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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  • C. Cubbin

    1. School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
    2. Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA
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  • Disclosure: None of the authors have relationships, financial or otherwise, for which a conflict of interest exists.

    Funding agencies: This work was supported by a grant from the American Cancer Society (RSGT-11-010-01-CPPB) to C. Cubbin and by grant 5 R24 HD042849 awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Child Development.

Correspondence: Clarie E. Margerison-Zilko (cmargerisonzilko@austin.utexas.edu)

Abstract

Objective

To examine the associations between poverty dynamics and the long-term risk of developing overweight or obesity.

Design and Methods

Our data are a representative sample of US children from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 Child and Young Adult Survey (1986-2008). We used survival analysis to compare risk of developing overweight or obesity among 5,613 children aged 4-14 years from never poor households, transient poor households (those that became poor only once), recurrent poor households (those that became poor more than once), and persistent poor households (those that became poor and remained poor for at least 4 consecutive years) and examined interactions by race/ethnicity, gender, and age.

Results

Compared with children from never poor households, children from transient poor households (HR 0.79, 95% CI: 0.68-0.92), recurrent poor households (HR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.62-0.87), and persistently poor households (HR: 0.62, 95% CI: 0.51-0.74) had significantly reduced risks of becoming overweight or obese. These associations did not vary by race/ethnicity, gender, or age.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that poverty experiences are associated with reduced risk of becoming overweight or obese among children of 4-14 years.

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