Family Instability and Weight Gain among Elementary Students

Claire Altman, Pennsylvania State University

Using four waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS-K), a nationally representative survey of US school children, I examined the relationship between family structure and instability and body mass index (BMI). Using ordinary least squares regression, I found that children in step parent families have significantly lower percentile BMI scores than those in two parent households. Stable family structures may not result in negative BMI outcomes for kids. In contrast, using fixed effects modeling I found that family instability, especially changes towards a single parent family, is related to significant weight gain over the course of elementary school.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 5