Residential mobility, socioeconomic context and body mass index in a cohort of urban South African adolescents

SOURCE: Health & Place
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): C.Ginsburg, P.L.Griffiths, L.M.Richter, S.A.Norris
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8539

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Adolescents who are changing residence, as well as their social and economic circumstances may experience lifestyle changes that have an effect on body composition outcomes such as undernutrition, overweight or obesity.This paper uses data from Birth to Twenty, a birth cohort of South African urban children, to determine the relationship between residential mobility and body mass index (BMI) amongst Black adolescents aged 15 (n=1613), and to examine the role of changes in household socioeconomic status (SES).The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the sample was 25% in females and 8% in males. Amongst the females, a strong positive association between residential mobility and BMI was observed for those who also experienced increase in household SES between birth and 15 years no effect was identified for males.The study shows the potential for environmental change and increased resources to influence the risk for obesity. It also highlights the value in considering the range of social environmental factors and changes across the early life course that might play a part in evolving nutritional patterns in urban transitioning environments.