Sociology Faculty Publications and Presentations

The Role of Residential Segregation in Explaining Racial Gaps in Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

Document Type


Publication Date



The present study used nationally representative data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) merged with census-track data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to model race-ethnic disparities in overweight, obesity, and obesity-related disease among children and adolescents as a function of neighborhood race-ethnic segregation, socio-economic status, household size and structure, family history of obesity, and other important predictors. Results indicate that African American and Hispanic children and adolescents are more likely to suffer from obesity and obesity-related disease than their non-Hispanic White peers. We also found that race-ethnic segregation proxied by the Index of Dissimilarity has a strong and negative effect on the weight status and health outcomes mentioned above. Moreover, race-ethnic segregation appears to explain up to 20% of the difference between minority children and their non-Hispanic White peers in the prevalence rate of overweight, obesity, and obesity-related disease.


© The Author(s) 2015

Publication Title

Youth and Society