Lower family income is related to increased weight status in children. However, limited research has examined protective factors against weight gain for low-SES children. Research has posited that having healthy weight parents may represent one protective factor against increased weight status in lower income children, however little research has quantitatively examined this claim. The purpose of this study was to examine parental BMI as a potential moderator of the relation between family income and adolescent BMI percentile. Participants were 149 adolescents (Mage=13.7;51%female; MBMI percentile=67.27) and their parents (MBMI=30.44;94.6%female) who participated in a larger study examining stress and adolescent obesity. Objective height (stadiometer) and weight (digital scale) were measured in triplicate with no shoes and light clothing. Parental BMI and child BMI percentile for age and gender were calculated from height and weight measurements. Parents reported annual household income before taxes each year (M=53,086, SD=49,128). Consistent with previous research, income significantly predicted adolescent BMI percentile within the current study, F(1,147)=8.18, pF(1,145)=2.89. This study supports the association between lower family income and higher child BMI percentile. The findings suggest the possibility that having a healthy weight parent is likely not a protective factor against increased weight status in low-income children. Therefore, significant gaps remain in understanding factors which may be protective against weight gain in low-income adolescents.
Dr. Amy F. Sato
Ms. Katherine E. Darling
Lower family income is related to increased weight status in adolescence, yet little research has examined parental BMI as a protective factor on this relation. The present study recruited 149 adolescents(51%female; MBMI percentile=67.27) and their parents (MBMI=30.44) to examine this claim. Objective height and weight was collected for both parents and adolescents. Parents reported annual income (M=53,086). Income significantly predicted adolescent BMI percentile, F(1,147)=8.18, pR2=.053). There was not a moderating effect of parental BMI on the relation between family income and child BMI percentile. This study supports the association between lower family income and higher child BMI percentile. However, having a healthy weight parent does not protect against increased weight status, leaving significant gaps in understanding the relation between weight and income during adolescence.