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Author: Jo, Changik
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1. Jo, Changik
Marital Status and Obesity: Cause and Effect
Ph.D. Dissertation, City University of New York, October 2004. DAI-A 65/04, p. 1464, Oct 2004
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Body Mass Index (BMI); Gender Differences; Marital Status; Modeling, Multilevel; Modeling, Probit; Morbidity; Mortality; Obesity; Socioeconomic Status (SES)

Obesity is an increasingly prevalent nutritional disorder among children and adolescents as well as adults and has now become a very important public health issue in most developed countries. The prevalence of obesity varies with socioeconomic and marital status. Marital status is related to morbidity and mortality, with married people, especially married men, healthier and at lower risk of death than unmarried men. The relationship between marital status and obesity, however, is not well established. To explore the origin of these associations, I study the effects of marital status and several socioeconomic variables on body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and obesity. At the same time, I allow for reverse causality from obesity to marital status. To obtain consistent estimates of these effects, I apply ordinary least squares models and bivariate probit models with correlated errors to data from National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY 79). This survey is designed to represent the entire population of American youth in 1979. My results reveal that married men have significantly larger values of BMI and are more likely to be obese than men who never married or divorced, even when demographic and socioeconomic variables are held constant. By contrast, marital status is not significantly associated with obesity of BMI among women. These findings, which take account of reverse causality from weight to marital status, suggests that marital status appears to influence obesity among men, but not among women.
Bibliography Citation
Jo, Changik. Marital Status and Obesity: Cause and Effect. Ph.D. Dissertation, City University of New York, October 2004. DAI-A 65/04, p. 1464, Oct 2004.