The Timing of Obesity Matters: Associations Between Current Versus Chronic Obesity since Adolescence and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction Among Young Adult Women

Citation

Akers, Aletha Y. & Harding, Jennifer (2021). The Timing of Obesity Matters: Associations Between Current Versus Chronic Obesity since Adolescence and Romantic Relationship Satisfaction Among Young Adult Women. Women's Health Issues. , PMCID: PMC8448928

Abstract

Background: Although the social consequences of obesity for women are well-documented, its stigmatizing effect on romantic relationships across the life course has seldom been explored. We examined whether having current or chronic obesity since adolescence is associated with romantic relationship satisfaction among women in early adulthood. Methods: This is a secondary analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Female participants completing waves I and IV who self-reported their height and weight and were in a marital or cohabitating relationship at wave IV were included. Relationship satisfaction was assessed using a seven-item measure. Body mass index BMI at wave IV was categorized as normal weight, overweight, obesity, or chronic obesity (at waves I and IV). The odds of reporting low relationship satisfaction were estimated across body mass index categories using multivariate regression that controlled for key covariates (age, race, ethnicity, education, income, lifetime partners, relationship duration, and depression) and accounted for the complex sampling design. Results: Among the 3,582 respondents, 74.8% were White, 65.5% had less than a college degree, and 61.8% were in their relationship for more than 3 years. At wave IV, 38.2% had a normal body mass index, 27.7% had overweight, 26.7% had obesity, and 7.5% had chronic obesity. Only having chronic obesity was associated with relationship satisfaction in early adulthood. Women with chronic obesity had 1.44 (95% confidence interval, 1.03–2.02) times the odds of reporting low relationship satisfaction compared with those categorized as normal weight. Conclusions: Chronic obesity since adolescence is associated with poor romantic relationship satisfaction in early adulthood.

URL

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2021.05.001

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Women's Health Issues

Author(s)

Akers, Aletha Y.
Harding, Jennifer

Year Published

2021

ISSN/ISBN

1049-3867

DOI

10.1016/j.whi.2021.05.001

PMCID

PMC8448928

Reference ID

5788