The current study examines how poverty and education in both the family and school contexts influence adolescent weight. Prior research has produced an incomplete and often counterintuitive picture. We develop a framework to better understand how income and education operate alone and in conjunction with each other across families and schools. We test it by analyzing data from Wave 1 of the U.S.-based National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N=16,133 in 132 schools) collected in 1994-1995. Using hierarchical logistic regression models and parallel indicators of family- and school-level poverty and educational resources, we find that at the family-level, parent's education, but not poverty status, is associated with adolescent overweight. At the school-level, the concentration of poverty within a school, but not the average level of parent's education, is associated with adolescent overweight. Further, increases in school poverty diminish the effectiveness of adolescents' own parents' education for protecting against the risks of overweight. The findings make a significant contribution by moving beyond the investigation of a single socioeconomic resource or social context. The findings push us to more fully consider when, where, and why money and education matter independently and jointly across health-related contexts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science