Family stressors and child obesity

Steven Garasky, Susan D. Stewart, Craig Gundersen, Brenda J. Lohman, Joey C. Eisenmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Child obesity is a public health priority with numerous and complex causes. This study focuses on factors within the family, namely stressful experiences, which may be associated with child obesity. We examine data from the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics for children in two age groups: 5-11 and 12-17 years old. Results from an ordered probit regression model of child weight categorizations (healthy weight, overweight, obese) indicate positive associations between a range of family stressors (lack of cognitive stimulation and emotional support in the household among younger children, and mental and physical health problems and financial strain in the household among older children) and child overweight and obesity. We discuss how public policies that reduce family stressors may, in turn, help reduce child obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-766
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Child Development Supplement
  • Child obesity
  • Child overweight
  • Family stressors
  • Obesity
  • Ordered probit models
  • Overweight
  • Panel Study of Income Dynamics
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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