The Effect of Neighborhood-Level Poverty on Perceptions of Weight among Adolescents

Rhiannon A. D'Souza, Ohio State University
Christopher Browning, Ohio State University

This analysis uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to examine the effect of neighborhood context on adolescent weight perception. Results support the idea that individuals living in neighborhoods with high levels of poverty, which generally have higher rates of overweight/obesity, are less likely to perceive themselves as overweight. Specifically, the results illustrate that as levels of neighborhood poverty status increase, the effect of body mass index on perception of weight decreases. This finding is important, as it may suggest that people in lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods are less likely to perceive themselves as overweight, and thus may be less likely to do anything about excess weight. Limitations and avenues for future research are discussed.

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Presented in Session 137: Biomarkers, BMI and Socioeconomic Differentials in Health