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Life-Course Trajectories of Body Mass Index from Adolescence to Old Age: Racial and Educational Disparities

Citation

Yang, Yang Claire; Walsh, Christine E.; Johnson, Moira P.; Belsky, Daniel W.; Reason, Max; Curran, Patrick J.; Aiello, Allison E.; Chanti-Ketterl, Marianne; & Harris, Kathleen Mullan (2021). Life-Course Trajectories of Body Mass Index from Adolescence to Old Age: Racial and Educational Disparities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(17), e2020167118. PMCID: PMC8092468

Abstract

No research exists on how body mass index (BMI) changes with age over the full life span and social disparities therein. This study aims to fill the gap using an innovative life-course research design and analytic methods to model BMI trajectories from early adolescence to old age across 20th-century birth cohorts and test sociodemographic variation in such trajectories. We conducted the pooled integrative data analysis (IDA) to combine data from four national population-based NIH longitudinal cohort studies that collectively cover multiple stages of the life course (Add Health, MIDUS, ACL, and HRS) and estimate mixed-effects models of age trajectories of BMI for men and women. We examined associations of BMI trajectories with birth cohort, race/ethnicity, parental education, and adult educational attainment. We found higher mean levels of and larger increases in BMI with age across more recent birth cohorts as compared with earlier-born cohorts. Black and Hispanic excesses in BMI compared with Whites were present early in life and persisted at all ages, and, in the case of Black-White disparities, were of larger magnitude for more recent cohorts. Higher parental and adulthood educational attainment were associated with lower levels of BMI at all ages. Women with college-educated parents also experienced less cohort increase in mean BMI. Both race and education disparities in BMI trajectories were larger for women compared with men.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2020167118

Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type

Regular

Year Published

2021

Journal Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Author(s)

Yang, Yang Claire
Walsh, Christine E.
Johnson, Moira P.
Belsky, Daniel W.
Reason, Max
Curran, Patrick J.
Aiello, Allison E.
Chanti-Ketterl, Marianne
Harris, Kathleen Mullan

PMCID

PMC8092468

Data Set/Study

National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health)
Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Study
Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL) Study
Health and Retirement Study (HRS)

Continent/Country

United States of America

State

Nonspecific