248531 Can rural middle schools moderate the relationship between income trajectories and adolescent body mass index?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:30 AM

Margaret Demment , Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Christine Olson, PhD , Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Introduction: Rural and low-income adolescents are a vulnerable population at increased risk for obesity. In addition, growing evidence and consensus in the scientific community indicates obesogenic environments significantly increase obesity rates. The goal of this study is to test whether middle school nutrition and physical activity (N&PA) environments can moderate the association between income trajectory and BMI during adolescence, in a rural context.

Methods: The study sample of interest is a rural upstate New York birth cohort, ages 12 to 15 years (n=352), enrolled in 20 schools. The study uses previously collected longitudinal data on adolescent BMI and income trajectory. The outcome, 3-year change in BMI, is derived from measured heights and weights from medical chart audits. The exposure, income trajectory, is based on latent-class modeling which will group students based on their movement in and out of low-income. The moderating variables, middle school N&PA environments, will be assessed based on physical, economic, political, and socio-cultural factors. The tool will consist of researcher observation, questionnaires for the school's key staff, and analysis of written school policies.

Expected Results: Linear mixed models will be used to test the hypothesis that middle school N&PA environments have the greatest impact for adolescents with poorer income trajectories, in terms of 3-year change in BMI.

Discussion: This study builds off current recommendations for research on the environmental influences of childhood obesity by: (1) focusing on populations that are rural and vary in income; (2) using longitudinal rather than cross-sectional data; and (3) combining N&PA variables.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. Differentiate the middle school nutrition and physical activity environment into four types: physical, economic, political, and socio-cultural. 2. Evaluate the moderation of the rural middle school environment on the relationship between income trajectory and body mass index trajectory in adolescence.

Keywords: Obesity, Rural Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because a graduate student at Cornell University in Nutritional Sciences and this is part of my dissertation project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.