Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Mobley, Catherine



Obesity is an alarming public health problem among people of all age groups in nearly every society. The increasing obesity rates are especially serious in the United States. The main purpose of this thesis is to explore the causes and correlates of obesity among American children between the ages of 10 and 14 using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth Child Data (NLSY79-CA).
This thesis hypothesized three major causal factors for the likelihood of children between the ages of 10 and 14 to be overweight or obese: socio-demographic groups, activities that children prefer to participate in, and the associated health conditions. A binary logistic regression was conducted to examine the likelihood of being overweight or obese of children between the ages of 10 and 14 and each of the above mentioned social factors.
The findings suggest that race and mothers who attained college graduate and higher, were significant predictors of the likelihood of overweight and obesity. However, the maternal education was no longer significant predictor when controlled for socio-demographic variables. Among the children's preferred activities included in the study, only listening to music and playing outside variables were significant. None of the health condition variables were found significant.
Therefore, the overall finding suggests that the influence of socio-demographic factors is higher for the likelihood of children and adolescents being overweight or obese compared to other social factors. Based on this finding, this thesis suggests that attention should be given more to the strategy directed toward the socio-demographic factors.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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