Skip to main content
Back to Top

The role of poverty status and obesity on school attendance in the United States

Alternate Title: 
Role of poverty status and obesity on school attendance in the United States
Date Added to Library: 
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 10:04
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 
Individual Author: 
Echeverria, Sandra E.
Velez-Valle, Enid
Janevic, Teresa
Prystowsky, Alisha
Reference Type: 
Published Date: 
September 2014
Published Date (Text): 
September 2014
Journal of Adolescent Health
Issue Number: 
Page Range: 


Several studies have shown that obesity influences school performance. Little is known about the joint effect of poverty and obesity associated with school attendance.


Data are from the National Survey of Children's Health (N = 93,151), a nationally representative sample of U.S. youth aged 10–17 years. Our dependent variable was ≥11 days of school days missed per year. Body mass index was classified as normal, overweight, and obese using age- and sex-specific criteria. Federal poverty level (FPL) was classified as <200%, 200%–399%, and ≥400% (high income). Covariates included gender, age, child's race or ethnicity, maternal physical and mental health, child's health, family composition, and household tobacco use. Logistic regression models and prevalence ratios were estimated, accounting for the complex survey design.


The odds of missing ≥11 days of school among overweight youth was 1.5 times that of normal-weight youth (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22–1.85) and 1.7 (95% CI = 1.35–2.13) times among obese youth in fully adjusted models. In joint effects models, the probability of missing school was significantly greater for obese youth in both the <200% FPL group (prevalence ratio = 1.78, CI = 1.36–2.34) and the ≥400% FPL group (prevalence ratio = 2.88, CI = 1.91–4.35), when compared with their normal-weight, higher income peers. Predicted probabilities revealed sharper gradients for higher income youth.


Obesity influences school absenteeism across all income categories. Nonetheless, there may be distinct reasons for missing school for lower and higher income youth, and the long-term consequences of school absences may also differ for these populations. (Author abstract)

Geographic Focus: 
Page Count: 
Topical Area: 
Topical Area: 

The SSRC is here to help you! Do you need more information on this record?

If you are unable to access the full-text of the article from the Public URL provided, please email our Librarians for assistance at

In addition to the information on this record provided by the SSRC, you may be able to use the following options to find an electronic copy from an online subscription service or your local library:

  • Worldcat to find an electronic copy from an online subscription service
  • Google Scholar to discover other full text options