Educational Differences in Excess Body Weight: A Closer Look

Yan Yu, Australian National University

The overweight or obese prevalence among U.S. adults has increased from about 50% in the 1970s to over 66% currently. Excess weight was projected to be reached by all adult Americans by 2048. Population heterogeneities with respect to body weight is a critical issue, but poorly understood. Educational and income weight differences were found to have declined since the 1970s; and it was even claimed that the most rapid increase in obesity occurred in the more advantageous social groups. This paper uses the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey series to examine educational differences in body weight and their change over time. Preliminary analysis indicated continued educational weight patterning, and among women, there has been no decline. Despite the secular trend, today's most educated women are still less likely to be overweight than the least educated thirty years ago.

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Presented in Session 45: Social Determinants and Consequences of Body Weight