“A Life Course Perspective on BMI in Rural America”
Rural Americans are substantially more likely to be obese than their urban counterparts, contributing the growing rural mortality penalty. Although the rural-urban obesity gap emerges during childhood, nearly all prior studies rely on cross-sectional data, yielding limited insights into how growing up in rural areas may affect weight in young adulthood. To better understand the origins of higher obesity in rural America, our study uses data from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamicsto follow a sample of 3,157 men and women from birth to young adulthood (age 18 to 33). Drawing on a life course perspective, we examine whether cumulative exposure during childhood or exposure during a critical developmental period is associated with adult BMI. We find that living in a rural area during the critical period of early childhood (before age two) is predictive of higher adult BMI, while residence in later childhood and adolescence is not. Improving the health and wellbeing of rural mothers and infants could potentially help address the roots of rural obesity.
Date: Thursday, March 25
Meeting ID: 971 6285 4595
Professor Shelley Clark is a demographer whose research focuses on gender, health, family dynamics, and life course transitions. After receiving her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1999, Dr. Clark served as program associate at the Population Council in New York (1999 to 2002) and as an Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago (2002 to 2006). In the summer of 2006, she joined the Department of Sociology at McGill, where in 2012 she became the founding Director of the Centre on Population Dynamics. Much of her research over two decades has examined how adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa make key transitions to adulthood in the midst of an on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic. Additional work has highlighted the social, economic, and health vulnerabilities of single mothers and their children in sub-Saharan Africa. Recently she has embarked on a new research agenda to assess rural and urban inequalities in the United States. She is currently co-editing a special issue of The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences on “Growing Up in Rural America.” Her findings have been published in leading journals, such as Demography, Population and Development Review, Social Forces, and Journal of Marriage and Family, and presented to policy makers at influential international organizations, including the World Bank, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), WHO, UNFPA/UNICEF, and the Population Council.
Our lineup for the spring semester includes:
|April 01||Ari Adut, UT Austin|
|April 08||John Robinson III, Washington University in St. Louis|
|April 15||Kevin Thomas, UT Austin|
|April 22||Dissertating Student Pecha Kucha|
|April 29||Kathryne Young, University of Massachusetts, Amherst|