Social and behavioral factors associated with BMI and waist circumference among adolescents: The jackson heart KIDS pilot study

Marino A. Bruce, Roland J. Thorpe, Fei Teng, Elizabeth Heitman, Jennifer C. Reneker, Keith C. Norris, Bettina M. Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: African American children and adolescents make up a disproportionately large segment of those classified as overweight and obese. The purpose of this study was to examine social and behavioral factors associated with accelerated accumulation of weight and adiposity among this group. Methods: The data for this cross-sectional study were drawn from the Jackson Heart KIDS Pilot Study - an offspring cohort study comprising 12- to 19-year-old descendants of Jackson Heart Study participants (N=212). Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference were the outcomes of interest. Daily hassles, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, television watching, parent/grandparent weight status and participant birth weight, age and sex were the independent variables included in the analyses. Results: Males and females were equally represented in the study and the mean BMI and waist circumference for adolescents in the study was 25.81±7.78 kg/m2and 83.91 ± 19.81 cm, respectively. Fully adjusted linear regression models for the total sample produced results indicating that age, television viewing, weight control, and parental weight status were positively associated with BMI and waist circumference, respectively. Findings from sex-stratified models for BMI and waist circumference indicated that the significance of coefficients for age, television viewing, and parent/grandparent weight status varied by sex. Conclusions: Knowledge is limited about how sex or gender interact with social and behavioral factors to influence African Americans' health and additional studies are needed to specify how these factors interact to accelerate weight gain and adipose tissue accumulation over the life course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • Adolescence
  • African Americans
  • Minority health
  • Pediatric obesity
  • Population health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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