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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Taiwan: Association of weight change patterns in late adolescence with young adult wage differentials: A multilevel longitudinal study

Adolescent obesity is one of the most serious public health problems worldwide. Because adolescence is a critical period when physiological, psychological, and social maturation occurs, from a life-course perspective, a change in weight during this period may play a determining role in different future sociopsychological consequences. Dr. Duan-Rung Chen, professor, and the director of the Institute of Health Behaviors and Community Sciences, and his student Dr. Chiao-Yu Huang demonstrated different weight change patterns exert different effects on the future adult wage for adolescents in Taiwan, especially in women. This study had been published in the Plos One.

Different weight change pattern’s economic consequences unequally affect men and women. Drs. Chen and Huang found, after adjustment for individual and contextual confounders, women with persistent obesity from late adolescence to young adulthood earned significantly lower wages compared with those who have never been obese. On the contrary, for men, no association was found between weight change patterns and adult wage. The authors speculated that such an association among women is due to both the cumulative disadvantage from being obese and weight discrimination in the workplace. These findings highlight the urgency of addressing persistent obesity early in life, especially for women.

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