Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 931854, 10 pages
Clinical Study

Social Factors in Childhood and Adulthood Associated with Adult Obesity in African American and White Women

1Section of Hospital Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center, MC 5000, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
2School of Urban Policy and Planning, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607, USA

Received 23 January 2012; Accepted 10 February 2012

Academic Editors: J. U. Béria and A. Rosano

Copyright © 2012 Milda R. Saunders et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Few studies have examined how individual and neighborhood poverty in childhood and adulthood influence the likelihood of adult obesity. We used a longitudinal cohort to examine these associations. Methods. Our cohort consisted of children born in Baltimore, MD, USA with followup as adults from ages 27 to 33. We used logistic regression to examine the multivariate association between individual and neighborhood poverty in childhood and adulthood and adult obesity, (body mass index 3 0 ), based on self-reported height and weight. Results. Of the 986 female respondents, 82% were African American and 18% were White. Both groups had similar rates of adulthood obesity (African American 25% versus Whites 26% , 𝑃 = 0 . 9 1 ), and similar rates of poverty as children and adults. There was no statistically significant association between individual or neighborhood poverty during childhood and the likelihood of adult obesity. Adults at risk for overweight or overweight as children had significantly greater odds of adult obesity (OR 2.8 and 12.1, resp.). Conclusion. In this sample of women with high rates of childhood and adulthood poverty, obesity rates were high. Childhood risk for overweight and overweight were strongly associated with adult obesity. Individual and neighborhood poverty in childhood were not independently associated with adulthood obesity.