Multiple Levels of Social Disadvantage and its Links to Obesity Risk in Adolescence and Young Adulthood

Hedwig Lee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In this paper I assess the relationship between multiple levels (family, peer, school and neighborhood) of social disadvantage in childhood and adolescence and obesity status in adolescence and young adulthood using multilevel logit models and nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). The life course and ecological perspectives both contain arguments that disadvantage should be measured at multiple ecological levels. A large amount of research exists that demonstrates the importance of neighborhood, school and family contexts in affecting health and health behaviors, including obesity and physical activity. Peer context, although less studied in relationship to obesity, is also an important influence on health (behaviors), especially in adolescence and young adulthood. Preliminary results indicate significant bivariate relationships between family, peer and neighborhood level disadvantage and obesity in adolescence and young adulthood. This relationship is stronger for females compared to males at all levels of disadvantage.

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Presented in Poster Session 4