To understand childhood obesity and design effective interventions to address the public health problem, two major research needs emerge from the literature:
Unfortunately, modeling multiple (more than three) levels of biological and social influence simultaneously is beyond the feasibility of current methods and data. A single survey may have some, but not all, of the variables need to estimate these effects, nor will a single survey have a sufficient sample size for estimation of these multiple effects in a longitudinal model.
To meet these needs, our project will develop methods that combine two longitudinal survey datasets to estimate and simulate trajectories of weight status from birth to adolescence. We will use the simulated childhood life paths to address questions on the absolute and relative impacts on childhood obesity of biological, behavioral and socio-economic variables, and of potential policy interventions.
Our solution to the problem of how to include more than three levels of influence entails the following modeling approach:
Michael S. Rendall, PhD
Senior Social Scientist and Director of the Population Research Center
Margaret M. Weden, PhD
Zafar E. Nazarov, PhD
Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, PhD
Meena Fernandes, PhD
Abt Associates Inc.
Peter Brownell, PhD
Assistant Social Scientist