Prolonged financial stress predicts subsequent obesity: Results from a prospective study of an Australian national sample

Authors

  • Mohammad Siahpush,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center 984365 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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  • Terry T-K Huang,

    1. Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center 984365 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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  • Asia Sikora,

    1. Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center 984365 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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  • Melissa Tibbits,

    1. Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center 984365 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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  • Raees A. Shaikh,

    1. Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health College of Public Health University of Nebraska Medical Center 984365 Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
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  • Gopal K. Singh

    1. Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Epidemiology, HRSA/Maternal and Child Health Bureau US Department of Health and Human Services
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  • Funding agencies: The HILDA Project was initiated and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and is managed by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (Melbourne Institute).

  • Disclosure: All authors declare that no support was received from any organization for the submitted work and that there were no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous 3 years; neither did we have other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work. Authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

  • Author contributions: We assure that all authors included on a paper fulfill the criteria of authorship. All have contributed in the conception and design, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting of the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content, and final approval of the version to be published. In addition we also assure that there is no one else who fulfills the criteria but has not been included as an author.

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this research was to assess the association of prolonged financial stress (FS) with subsequent obesity.

Design and Methods

Data were from Waves 8 (2008), 9 (2009), and 10 (2010) of Household Income and Labor Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The outcome was obesity measured in 2010. Prolonged FS was defined as having experienced FS in both 2008 and 2009. FS was measured in each year using seven questionnaire items. Analyses adjusted for health, physical activity, income, education, baseline obesity, and other covariates.

Results

Prolonged FS was a strong predictor of subsequent obesity. The adjusted risk of being obese in 2010 were 20% higher (RR: 1.20; 95% CI: 1.10-1.30) among individuals who experienced FS in both 2008 and 2009 than those who did not experience FS in either year. The association of FS with obesity was independent of income and constant across income categories.

Conclusions

Obesity prevention research should pay more attention to FS as an important dimension of economic deprivation, a concept that is distinct from common indicators of socioeconomic status such as income. Future research can examine the effect of financial education and counseling programs that help individuals with such skills as money management, budgeting, and saving on a reduction in FS and obesity.

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