Parental Overweight, Adolescent Overweight, and Adult Overweight
Gary Sandefur, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Jessica Jakubowski, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Caroline L. Faulkner, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Molly A. Martin, Pennsylvania State University
Concern about the adolescent obesity epidemic in the United States has increased rapidly over recent years. This concern largely rises from the health consequences of obesity and overweight; however, more research is needed to investigate the social and behavioral causes and consequences of overweight throughout the life course. We use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) Waves I-III to explore the early life course trajectory of being overweight by examining the pathways through which individual and family characteristics influence adolescent and early adult weight. Given that many people who are overweight as young adults were also overweight as adolescents, we estimate the direct and indirect connections between adolescent and early adult overweight. We also estimate the influence of family background, e.g., parental overweight, and whether its influence on weight decreases while other environmental factors gain importance as individuals grow older.