A Longitudinal Analysis of Body Mass Index by Individual and Neighborhood Level Race and SES Characteristics

Erin Ruel, Georgia State University
Eric N Reither, Utah State University
Stephanie A. Robert, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Paula Lantz, University of Michigan

This investigation examines changes in body mass index (BMI) over time in a sample of US adults, and also explain inter-individual changes in BMI over time as a function of individual-level race and SES and neighborhood-level race and SES. We use the Americans Changing Lives longitudinal study (1986-2002) merged with census data to estimate growth curve models that examine BMI trajectories over time, separately for men and women. Preliminary results show that BMI increases over a 16-year span, and that the differences in BMI increase between individuals over time for both men and women. There are no racial differences in BMI at baseline or over time for men. For women, blacks have a greater average BMI at baseline, but follow BMI trajectories that are not significantly different than whites. Individual level SES is a strong predictor of baseline BMI and growth in BMI for men, but less so for women.

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Presented in Session 122: Neighborhoods and Health