Gender and race differences in the correlation between body mass and education in the 1971-1975 NHANES I

J Paul Leigh, J. F. Fries, H. B. Hubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Study objective - Differences in the correlation between body mass index and education across four gender and race groups were investigated while simultaneously accounting for occupation, income, marital status, and age. Design - The study used analysis of covariance techniques to calculate average body mass and confidence intervals within education categories while simultaneously adjusting for the covariates: age, square of age, family income, marital status, and occupation. Setting - Data were drawn from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), 1971-1975. NHANES I is a national probability sample designed to gather information on the non-institutionalised US civilians, ages 1-74 years. Subjects - Samples of 8211 white women, 1673 black women, 6188 white men, and 1023 black men were drawn from the NHANES I, 1971-1975. Main results - Data in the female samples indicate a strictly inverse relation between body mass and years of schooling among white women and an inverted 'U' association among black women, achieving a maximum around 8 to 11 years of schooling. In the male samples data indicate inverted 'U' relations among both black and white men, reaching maxima between 12 and 15 years of schooling. The sides of the 'U' curve are much steeper for black than for white men. Conclusions - The four gender/race categories display four different body mass index and education associations. These four associations are only slightly altered by simultaneously adjusting for two additional measures of socioeconomic status: occupation and income.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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