Becoming obese in young adulthood: the role of career-family pathways in the transition to adulthood for men and women

J.E. Mooyaart, A.C. Liefbroer, F.C. Billari

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Background
During the transition to adulthood many young adults become obese for the first time in their lives, yet relatively little research has examined why people in this life phase become obese. This study examines what career and family life-course pathways during the transition to adulthood are related to developing obesity in young adulthood.
Methods
We use data from the NLSY97, a U.S. nationally representative panel survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics between 1997 to 2013 (N = 4688), and apply multichannel sequence analysis in order to identify clusters of typical career-family pathways during the transition to adulthood (age 17 to 27), and subsequently investigate whether these pathways are associated with becoming obese at the end of young adulthood (age 28), using logistic regression. We control for obesity at age 17 and family background factors (race, parental education, parental income, and family structure). To take into account the fact that the transition to adulthood has a different meaning for men and for women, we also interact career-family clusters with gender.
Results
For women, pathways characterized by college education, early home leaving, and postponement of family formation decrease the probability of becoming obese. For men, pathways characterized by early marriage increase the probability of becoming obese.
Conclusions
The results highlight the importance of gender differences in how career and family pathways are related to becoming obese in young adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1511 (2019)
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume19
Early online date12 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • obese
  • young adulthood
  • transition to adulthood

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