In Sickness and in Health: An Examination of Marital Status and Obesity in the United States
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Sociology Honors Theses; 2006
Using data from the 1999 and 2002 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), I examine the relationship between marital status and the occurrence of obesity. Obesity rates have risen rapidly in the U.S. over the past several decades. Because it is unlikely that rapid biological or genetic changes are responsible for this pattern, understanding the social determinants of obesity is crucial to creating solutions to this health problem. Prior research indicates that married individuals have better self-assessed health. It unclear, however, whether this association extends to specific health problems such as obesity. Results of the present study indicate that marital status is significantly associated with obesity. Specifically, married individuals are more likely to be obese then their never married counterparts. The present analysis also considers whether the average association of marriage with increased obesity differs across a range of sociodemographic characteristics including age, race, education, and gender.