Contextual Factors and Weight Change over Time: A Comparison between U.S. Hispanics and Other Population Sub-Groups

Heidi Ullmann, Princeton University
Anne Pebley, University of California, Los Angeles

The evidence linking neighborhood characteristics to weight in the United States is mixed. Many studies in this area are hampered by cross sectional designs and a limited scope. It is also unclear whether neighborhood characteristics account for racial/ethnic disparities in weight. Using longitudinal data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, we compare patterns of weight change between Hispanics and other groups. We also explore the extent to which patterns of weight change are related to community characteristics. We find that almost all of the groups experience a statistically significant increase in weight. Second plus generation Hispanic women and black men gain weight more rapidly than their first generation Hispanic counterparts. The community-level variables do not alter the relationships between the population sub-groups and weight. Only collective efficacy is consistently and significantly associated with weight. In sex disaggregated models, the protective effect of collective efficacy is seen only among women.

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Presented in Session 211: Neighborhood, School and Community Contextual Influences on Health