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Body mass index during early adulthood and first births: racial/ethnic and sex differences in the US NLSY79 cohort

D. Susie Lee, Natalie Nitsche and Kieron J. Barclay
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D. Susie Lee: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany
Natalie Nitsche: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany
Kieron J. Barclay: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

No WP-2021-012, MPIDR Working Papers from Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

Abstract: Growing evidence indicates lifetime fertility is predicted by health conditions during early adulthood such as body mass index (“early BMI”). Less is known if the early BMI to fertility pathway differs by race/ethnicity, a major axis along which disparities in both health and fertility develop. We examined, within each sex, how the deviations of early BMI from healthy range relate to first birth timing and lifetime childlessness in Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites of the US NLSY79 cohort. Obesity was consistently associated with higher childlessness across race/ethnic groups in both sexes, but only in women, its implication in delaying first births manifested after early adulthood. The overall higher childlessness among underweight women was largely driven in Blacks, whereas the lower childlessness among underweight men was detectable in Blacks and Whites. Our findings on the intersectionality of race/ethnicity and sex in the BMI-childlessness pathways encourage more research on the underlying mechanisms.Keywords: body mass index (BMI), childlessness, first birth, age at first birth, race/ethnicity, Blacks; Hispanics; Whites; United States, NLSY79

Keywords: USA; body weight; completed fertility; desired family size; ethnicity; health; marital union; races; sex differentials (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J1 Z0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem and nep-hea
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2021-012

DOI: 10.4054/MPIDR-WP-2021-012

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