Patterns of body weight in middle-aged and older Americans, by gender and race, 1993-2000

Kristi R. Jenkins, Nancy H. Fultz, Stephanie J. Fonda, Linda A. Wray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: Despite evidence of poor health outcomes associated with excessive weight gain or loss, longitudinal patterns of body weight over the adult life course have not been fully described. This article seeks to address this by examining body weight patterns for middle-aged and older adults. Methods: Panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) original cohort and the original cohort of the Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) study are used to compare, by social group, characteristics of respondents and non-respondents, baseline weight (1993 and 1994) to year 2000 weight, and explore various weight change trajectories over time. Results: Overall, a greater proportion of middle-aged adults are heavier overtime than at baseline and a greater proportion of older adults lose weight overtime compared to baseline. Examining the transitions across weight trajectories for all of the social groups suggests considerable variability. Conclusions: These findings suggest that differing physiologic and social or environmental experiences may have implications for body weight patterns. Understanding these patterns by race/ethnicity and gender could provide insight into health disparities among different social groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalSozial- und Praventivmedizin
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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