Youth Energy Balance: Evaluating the Impact of Family and Economic Trajectories

Barbara Brown, University of Utah
Jessie Fan, University of Utah
Cathleen Zick, University of Utah

In this paper, we explore how family economic and energy balance history may be linked to youth overweight and development. We use the 2004 release of Young Adult data from National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) to explore the relationships among maternal BMI, family income, family background variables and youth overweight and healthy behaviors. In our study, we exploit the longitudinal nature of the NLSY to create long-term family economic and family BMI profiles. Finally, we also track the impact of these profiles for key subgroups of youth (e.g., those youth still living at home and those who have left the parental home). Using multivariate techniques, we relate trajectories of familial BMI and economic well-being to healthy youth behaviors such as engaging in exercise and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Results from this research afford valuable insights into complexity of family contributions to youth energy balance.

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Presented in Session 76: Legacies of the Past: Early Childhood Conditions and Adult Outcomes