Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Intergenerational Social Networks and Health Behaviors Among Children Living in Public Housing

TitleIntergenerational Social Networks and Health Behaviors Among Children Living in Public Housing
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKennedy-Hendricks, A, Schwartz, H, Thornton, RJ, Griffin, BA, Green, H. D., J, Kennedy, DP, Burkhauser, S, Pollack, CE
JournalAm J Public Health
Date PublishedNov
ISBN Number1541-0048 (Electronic)0090-0036 (Linking)
Accession Number26378821
Keywords*Body Weight, *Health Behavior, *Intergenerational Relations, *Social Support, Adolescent, Caregivers/statistics & numerical data, Child, Continental Population Groups, Diet, Exercise, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Maryland/epidemiology, Overweight/epidemiology, Public Housing/*statistics & numerical data, Social Environment, Socioeconomic Factors

OBJECTIVES: In a survey of families living in public housing, we investigated whether caretakers' social networks are linked with children's health status. METHODS: In 2011, 209 children and their caretakers living in public housing in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland, were surveyed regarding their health and social networks. We used logistic regression models to examine the associations between the perceived health composition of caretaker social networks and corresponding child health characteristics (e.g., exercise, diet). RESULTS: With each 10% increase in the proportion of the caretaker's social network that exercised regularly, the child's odds of exercising increased by 34% (adjusted odds ratio = 1.34; 95% confidence interval = 1.07, 1.69) after the caretaker's own exercise behavior and the composition of the child's peer network had been taken into account. Although children's overweight or obese status was associated with caretakers' social networks, the results were no longer significant after adjustment for caretakers' own weight status. CONCLUSIONS: We found that caretaker social networks are independently associated with certain aspects of child health, suggesting the importance of the broader social environment for low-income children's health.