Income, Education Affects Teen Obesity, Depression

Oct 19, 2004 03:27 AM EDT

A recent study has found that teen depression and obesity can be affected by family income and education level.

The study, appearing in a recent issue of the American Journal of Public Health, analyzed more than 15,000 American teens and found that close to one-third of the cases of depression and obesity among them could be attributed to being from families with low incomes or to having parents with low levels of education.

Education a stronger factor

Researchers found lower family income accounted for 26% of depression and 32% of obesity cases among the teens. Lower parental education was associated with 40% of depression and 39% of obesity among the teens.

Lower parental education was a stronger factor than income for both depression and obesity.

Education's effects may relate more to differences in coping styles and other interpersonal skills, whereas income's effects may be more strongly associated with material goods and services.

Obesity and depression represent critical public health problems for today's youth, as both are highly prevalent chronic diseases that continue into adulthood.


1. E. Goodman, “The Public Health Impact of Socioeconomic Status on Adolescent Depression and Obesity,” American Journal of Public Health, 93(11).