Family Structure and Obesity among U.S. Children

Jennifer M. Augustine, Rice University
Rachel T. Kimbro, Rice University

Child obesity in the U.S. is a significant public health issue, particularly among children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Thus, the roles of parents’ human and financial capital and racial and ethnic background have become important topics in research on child obesity. Less often discussed is the role of family structure, which is an important predictor of other indicators of child well-being. The goal of this study is to investigate how preschool aged children’s risk of obesity varies across a diverse set of family structures and whether these differences in obesity are moderated by family poverty and maternal education. Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort, we find preschoolers raised by biological cohabiting parents or relative caregivers have greater obesity odds of than children raised by married biological parents; Also, poor children in married biological parent households and non-poor children with married step parents have greater obesity risks.

  See paper

Presented in Session 150: Family Structure, Father Involvement and Childhood Obesity