Disentangling the Longitudinal Relations of Race, Sex, and Socioeconomic Status, for Childhood Body Mass Index Trajectories


Race, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES) are associated with childhood obesity. The present research longitudinally examines these factors with 12,674 White and Black children from kindergarten through 8th grade. Methods Body mass index (BMI) data were collected and standardized at six time points (zBMI). Using Latent Growth Curve Modeling, race and sex were evaluated as moderators for the relation between SES and initial zBMI and rate of zBMI change. Results Higher SES significantly predicted higher initial zBMI for Black males and lower initial zBMI and rate of change for White males. A nonlinear relation between SES and zBMI was found for White females. Conclusions SES has a differential impact on adiposity for different demographic groups. The longitudinal nature of the study and the focus on younger school-aged children provide important information regarding the complex interplay of race, sex, and SES for the prediction of childhood adiposity.

Publication Title

Journal of Pediatric Psychology