Sick and Stuck: The Legacy of Obesity and Disconnectedness among Transitioning Adults
Hilary M. Dotson, University of South Florida
More than one-in-six 18 to 24 year olds are ‘disconnected;’ that is, unemployed, not currently in school or military, and only a high school diploma. Disconnectedness may relate to poorer socioeconomic outcomes. Health is one potential source of disconnectedness. Obesity is one measure influencing social, psychological, and socio-economic outcomes throughout the life course, but has not been considered as a potential source of disconnectedness. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examine whether obesity over the life-course can predict disconnectedness during the transition to adulthood. Individuals who were obese in adolescence and young adulthood as well as those who were only obese in the transition to adulthood were significantly more likely to be disconnected than individuals who have never been obese. As such, there may not be long-term consequences in the relationship between adolescent obesity and current disconnectedness, but there is a relationship when considering adulthood.