Social stratification and adolescent overweight in the United States: How income and educational resources matter across families and schools

Molly Ann Martin, Michelle Lynn Frisco, Claudia Nau, Kristin Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-606
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Volume74
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

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social stratification
Poverty
adolescent
income
Education
parent education
poverty
resources
school
Parents
Logistic Models
National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health
education
Social Stratification
Income
Resources
health
longitudinal study
money
logistics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

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