Cohort Differences in the Relationship between Obesity and Health: Is Educational Attainment Maintaining Its Protective Effect?

Jamie Boydstun, Mississippi State University

Obesity in the United States has received extensive attention in recent years due to increased prevalence, as more than one third of American adults are considered obese. This statistic is alarming as obesity is a risk factor for the onset of disease, has a direct effect on health conditions, increases the likelihood of disability, and lowers self-rated health status. Yet, increasing levels of educational attainment may alter the relationship between obesity and morbidity. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, this study investigates how the effect of obesity on morbidity varies across cohorts and how educational attainment may be altering the strength of the relationship over time. Latent growth curve models are used to determine cohort differences in the effect of obesity on morbidity, as well as estimate if cohort trajectories are significantly different based on educational attainment groups, net of time-varying socioeconomic, psychosocial, and health behaviors.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 7