Gutin, Iliya (2018). Do you consider your weight healthy? The association between perceived weight throughout early life and self-rated health in adulthood. Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America.
Obesity and weight gain pose a growing threat to the health and wellbeing of ever-younger US adults. Nevertheless, young adult views of body weight as a salient component of overall health are poorly understood, especially prior to the onset of weight-related morbidities. Addressing this issue, I use Add Health and group-based trajectory models to examine how perceptions of weight throughout early life are associated with self-rated health (SRH) in adulthood, above and beyond objective weight and other confounders. Results show that adults who perceived themselves as “overweight” – in adolescence, young adulthood, or always – are twice as likely to report fair/poor SRH as individuals consistently perceiving their weight as “about right”. These findings provide insight into the nuances of how adults define health as a function of weight. Moreover, they emphasize the importance of subjectivity in evaluating health and how perceptions of weight become internalized throughout the life course.
obesity perceived weight self-rated health
Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America
Children and youth
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