Household Income during Childhood and Young Adult Weight Status: Evidence from a Nutrition Transition Setting

  • Schmeer K
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This article explores whether household income at different stages of childhood is associated with weight status in early adulthood in a nutrition transition setting (a developing country with both underweight and overweight populations). I use multinomial logistic regression to analyze prospective, longitudinal data from Cebu, Philippines. Results suggest that increasing prenatal income is associated with lower risk of being underweight at age 21, while increasing income during childhood is associated with an increased risk of being overweight at age 21. When gender differences are considered, prenatal income has an important protective effect against the risk of being overweight for girls. For boys, prenatal income has little effect on overweight status, but early childhood income increases their risk of becoming overweight. For both boys and girls, income in mid-childhood (ages 9-12) is associated with a particularly high risk of becoming overweight by age 21, net of earlier income. These results suggest that, in this nutrition transition setting, childhood income operates through complex developmental and behavioral mechanisms to affect early adult overweight status; and that increasing household income after birth may do little to prevent underweight status in early adulthood.

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  • Kammi K Schmeer

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