Body Mass Index Trajectory–Specific Changes in Economic Circumstances: A Person-Oriented Approach Among Midlife and Ageing Finns

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Economic disadvantage is related to a higher risk of adulthood obesity, but few studies have considered whether changes in economic circumstances depend on a person’s body mass index (BMI) trajectory. We identified latent BMI trajectories among midlife and ageing Finns and captured individual-level changes in economic circumstances within the BMI trajectories utilizing sequence analysis. We used the Helsinki Health Study cohort data of initially 40–60-year-old Finnish municipal employees, with four survey questionnaire phases (2000–2017). Each survey included identical questions on height and weight, and on economic circumstances incorporating household income and current economic difficulties. Based on computed BMI, we identified participants’ (n = 7105; 82% women) BMI trajectories over the follow-up using group-based trajectory modeling. Four BMI trajectories were identified: stable healthy weight (34% of the participants), stable overweight (42%), overweight to class I obesity (20%), and stable class II obesity (5%). Lower household income level and having economic difficulties became more common and persistent when moving from lower- to higher-level BMI trajectories. Differences in household income widened over the follow-up between the trajectory groups, whereas economic difficulties decreased equally in all trajectory groups over time. Our study provides novel information on the dynamic interplay between long-term BMI changes and economic circumstances.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3668
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
  • body mass index
  • economic difficulties
  • household income
  • obesity
  • sequence analysis
  • trajectory modeling
  • weight gain

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