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Intergenerational Transmission of Body Mass and Obesity Status in Australia

Journal Article


Abstract


  • We estimate the intergenerational transmission of the body-mass index (BMI) and obesity status using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. The intergenerational elasticity of BMI between mother and adolescent is 0.242, which is consistent with estimates from other countries. Controlling for adolescent-specific fixed effects reduces the estimated elasticity to 0.043. This suggests that genetics and the permanent environment may explain much of the observed persistence of BMI across generations. Adolescents in Australia whose mothers are obese are expected to have an increased probability of being obese themselves by 0.094��percentage points, where the adolescent obesity prevalence rate is 7.70��per cent. This intergenerational persistence in obesity status is much stronger when the mother is morbidly obese. The degree of intergenerational persistence of BMI and obesity status exhibits a socioeconomic gradient: the transmission is stronger among disadvantaged households than better-off households. When coupled with prevailing socioeconomic disparities in obesity rates specifically and health status generally, this dynamic feature of Australian society may further contribute to the inequity in health outcomes in the future.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • James, A., Mendolia, S., & Paloyo, A. R. (2020). Intergenerational Transmission of Body Mass and Obesity Status in Australia. Economic Record, 96(312), 1-18. doi:10.1111/1475-4932.12530

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85079367373

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 18

Volume


  • 96

Issue


  • 312

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • We estimate the intergenerational transmission of the body-mass index (BMI) and obesity status using the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. The intergenerational elasticity of BMI between mother and adolescent is 0.242, which is consistent with estimates from other countries. Controlling for adolescent-specific fixed effects reduces the estimated elasticity to 0.043. This suggests that genetics and the permanent environment may explain much of the observed persistence of BMI across generations. Adolescents in Australia whose mothers are obese are expected to have an increased probability of being obese themselves by 0.094��percentage points, where the adolescent obesity prevalence rate is 7.70��per cent. This intergenerational persistence in obesity status is much stronger when the mother is morbidly obese. The degree of intergenerational persistence of BMI and obesity status exhibits a socioeconomic gradient: the transmission is stronger among disadvantaged households than better-off households. When coupled with prevailing socioeconomic disparities in obesity rates specifically and health status generally, this dynamic feature of Australian society may further contribute to the inequity in health outcomes in the future.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • James, A., Mendolia, S., & Paloyo, A. R. (2020). Intergenerational Transmission of Body Mass and Obesity Status in Australia. Economic Record, 96(312), 1-18. doi:10.1111/1475-4932.12530

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85079367373

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 18

Volume


  • 96

Issue


  • 312

Place Of Publication