Online Program

Effect of unemployment on BMI and waist to hip circumference: Evidence from the survey of the health of Wisconsin

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Lynne Morgan, MPH, Department of Population Health Sciences, Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Middleton, WI
Kristen Malecki, PhD, MPH, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI
Paul E. Peppard, PhD, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Matt Walsh, PhD, MPH, Department of Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI
Unemployment can have negative impacts on health including increased BMI leading to cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. This relationship has not been thoroughly studied among young adults, the largest-growing population of unemployed worldwide. The aims of this study are to 1) Identify the association of unemployment on BMI and Waist-to-Hip (W2H) ratio, and 2) Explore the possible protective effects of unemployment on young adults, including increased instance of eating in the home, and increased physical activity. Participants were identified using data collected by the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin from 2008-2011. These individuals met the inclusion criteria of a)ages 21-35, and b)either employed full or part time, or unemployed but looking for work(n=641). Unemployment in this population is 10.6%. For young adults living below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), unemployment decreases the likelihood of having a too-high W2H ratio (Odds Ratio 0.51, 95% Confidence Intervals 0.17-1.54). Individuals above the FPL had an increased likelihood of having a high W2H ratio (OR 2.34, 95%CI 0.96-5.73) controlling for race, education, gender, comorbidities. Compared to employed, unemployed young adults under the FPL also ate fewer meals in the home (-1.53 95%CI -4.9-1.8) whereas participants above FPL ate more meals (+2.66, 95%CI 0.33-4.99). Whether or not a person's household income is below the FPL has implications for how unemployment affects an individual's BMI and (W2H) ratio. Though these results are not statistically significant, this demonstrates an interaction between unemployment and poverty status, indicating the need for future research on this population.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
List three methods of classifying or measuring unhealthy weight in young adults. Explain how wealth is a mediating factor for the health impacts of unemployment in young adults.

Keyword(s): Young Professionals, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I studied obesity and nutrition for two years, and have significant statistical knowledge through my education and professional experiences.
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.