Online Program

Differential secular trends in BMI in relation to region of childhood residence: A 25 year follow-up of a nationally representative sample

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Marian Moser Jones, PhD MPH, Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD
Tao Liu, Ph.D., Center for Statistical Sciences, Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI
Edmond D. Shenassa, ScD, Maternal & Child Health Program, FMSC; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Although regional variations in prevalence of overweight and average BMI have been well documented, the relationship between childhood region of residence and BMI in adulthood remains poorly understood. This study aimed to estimate secular trends in BMI among US adults and to examine these trends in relation to region of residence in childhood and adulthood. Using 16 waves of nationally representative data from The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (n=12,686), the study examined the change in individuals' BMI over 25 years using random effects models. We found an independent positive association between years of residence in the South during childhood and adolescence (age 14), and secular trends in overweight during adolescence and adulthood (ß = .08, p =.05). In line with previous studies, the average BMI among men overall increases by 0.07~0.34 kg/m2 and the odds of being overweight increases multiplicatively by 3~12% (obese: 4~10%) over each birth cohort year. Among women, the average BMI increases by 0.14~0.21 kg/m2 and the odds of being overweight increases by -2~8% (obese: -6~10%). These increasing trends are significant for both genders among whites and among all races combined. The secular trend in BMI for respondents who resided in the South during childhood is elevated in comparison to the trend for other respondents, suggesting an independent association between childhood region of residence and trends in BMI during adulthood. This is the most precise and detailed epidemiologic study to date to examine secular trends in BMI among US residents in relation to regional differences.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain secular trends in adolescent and adult BMI and how these relate to region of childhood residence. Discuss how the NLSY79 dataset can be used to inform our understanding of BMI and other health indicators among young adults.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Ph.D. and M.P.H in Sociomedical Sciences, and have served as a co-investigator over the past year on this project investigating historical and childhood region of residence and its association with BMI. I have also published historical research on the health and nutrition of the population the Southern U.S.
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.