University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Marriage and parenthood in relation to obesogenic neighborhood trajectories: The CARDIA study

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences



Document Type



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health


Marriage and parenthood are associated with weight gain and residential mobility. Little is known about how obesity-relevant environmental contexts differ according to family structure. We estimated trajectories of neighborhood poverty, population density, and density of fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and commercial and public physical activity facilities for adults from a biracial cohort (CARDIA, n=4,174, aged 25-50) over 13 years (1992-93 through 2005-06) using latent growth curve analysis. We estimated associations of marriage, parenthood, and race with the observed neighborhood trajectories. Married participants tended to live in neighborhoods with lower poverty, population density, and availability of all types of food and physical activity amenities. Parenthood was similarly but less consistently related to neighborhood characteristics. Marriage and parenthood were more strongly related to neighborhood trajectories in whites (versus blacks), who, in prior studies, exhibit weaker associations between neighborhood characteristics and health. Greater understanding of how interactive family and neighborhood environments contribute to healthy living is needed.

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Citation: Health Place. 2015 Jul;34:229-40. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.05.005. Epub 2015 Jun 18. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed


Built environment, Geographic information systems, Life course, Longitudinal study, Obesity

PubMed ID