Change in Healthy Habits between Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

Adrianne Frech, Ohio State University

I use the first three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to estimate change in healthy behavior engagement between adolescence and emerging adulthood. I employ an index of seven healthy behaviors associated with lower morbidity and mortality later in life. Linear growth models indicate that health behavior engagement declines over time. In addition, the effect of family composition, parental socioeconomic status, and parent health behavior engagement on adolescents' initial levels of health behavior engagement varies by race-ethnicity and gender. This project is important because although many health disparities are narrow during adolescence and young adulthood, healthy behavior engagement varies widely across persons and over time, making this study useful for identifying points of policy intervention that address early health disparity formation. These findings contribute to existing literature by identifying social environments that promote healthy behaviors among adolescents, with the goal of narrowing health disparities early in life.

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Presented in Poster Session 6