Family Income Trajectory During Childhood is Associated with Adiposity in Adolescence: A Latent Class Growth Analysis



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Background: Childhood socioeconomic disadvantage has been linked with obesity in cross-sectional research, although less is known about how changes in socioeconomic status influence the development of obesity. Researchers have hypothesized that upward socioeconomic mobility may attenuate the health effects of earlier socioeconomic disadvantage; while downward socioeconomic mobility might have a negative influence on health despite relative socioeconomic advantages at earlier stages. The purpose of the current study was to characterize trajectories of family income during childhood, and to evaluate the influence of these trajectories on adiposity at age 15. Methods. Data were collected as part of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) between 1991 and 2007 at 10 sites across the United States. A latent class growth analysis (LCGA) was conducted to identify trajectories of family income from birth to 15 years of age. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) were conducted to determine whether measures of adiposity differed by trajectory, while controlling for relevant covariates. Results: The LCGA supported a 5-class trajectory model, which included two stable, one downward, and two upward trajectories. ANCOVAs indicated that BMI percentile, waist circumference, and skinfold thicknesses at age 15 differed significantly by trajectory, such that those who experienced downward mobility or stable low income had greater adiposity relative to the more advantaged trajectories. Conversely, upwardly mobile children and those with consistently adequate incomes had similar and more positive outcomes relative to the most disadvantaged trajectories. Conclusions: Findings suggest that promoting upward socioeconomic mobility among disadvantaged families may have a positive impact on obesity-related outcomes in adolescence. © 2012 Kendzor et al.; e BioMed Central Ltd.


"The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development was directed by a Steering Committee and supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement (U10) that calls for a scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff. Manuscript preparation was supported, in part, through grant MRSGT-10-104-01-CPHPS awarded by the American Cancer Society."


Body mass index, Obesity in children, Poverty, Skinfold thickness, Socioeconomic status


CC BY 2.0 (Attribution) ©2012 Kendzor et al.; e BioMed Central Ltd.