The Relationship between Race/Ethnicity, Education, and Obesity In U.S. Adults

Pamela J. Stoddard, University of California, Los Angeles

Health disparities between racial and ethnic groups in the United States are frequently characterized by the differences that cannot be accounted for by socioeconomic status. This literature has given less attention to the ways in which socioeconomic status itself operates in relation to health across racial and ethnic groups. This study compares the relationship between education and obesity for African Americans, Mexican Americans, and non-Hispanic whites, and examines possible mechanisms underlying disparities, including physical activity and diet. Preliminary results show a statistically significant difference in the association between education and obesity for African Americans and Mexican Americans relative to non-Hispanic whites. As education increases, non-Hispanic whites are less likely to be obese, but Mexican Americans and African Americans are more likely to be obese. Differences in the relationship between education and obesity across groups may help to explain broader racial and ethnic gaps in obesity and related health conditions.

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Presented in Poster Session 4