Subjective social status in the school and change in adiposity in female adolescents: findings from a prospective cohort study

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008 Jan;162(1):23-8. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2007.11.


Objective: To determine whether subjective social standing in school predicts a change in body mass index (BMI) in adolescent girls during a 2-year period.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Self-report questionnaires from a community-based population of adolescent girls living across the United States from 1999 to 2001.

Participants: Of 5723 girls aged 12 to 18 years participating in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS), adequate information was available for 4446 (78%), who provided the analytic sample.

Main exposure: Low subjective social status in the school.

Main outcome measures: Change in BMI between 1999 and 2001 and multivariable odds ratio for a 2-U increase in BMI in girls with low subjective social status in the school compared with girls with higher subjective social status in the school.

Results: After adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, baseline BMI, diet, television viewing, depression, global and social self-esteem, menarche, height growth, mother's BMI, and pretax household income, adolescent girls who placed themselves on the low end of the school subjective social status scale had a 69% increased odds of having a 2-unit increase in BMI (odds ratio, 1.69; 95% confidence interval, 1.10-2.60) during the next 2 years compared with other girls.

Conclusion: Higher subjective social standing in school may protect against gains in adiposity in adolescent girls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Peer Group*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Schools
  • Social Desirability*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires