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Open AccessArticle

The Global Financial Crisis and Overweight among Children of Single Parents: A Nationwide 10-Year Birth Cohort Study in Japan

1
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2
Department of Health Education and Health Sociology, School of Public Health, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(6), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16061001
Received: 20 February 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 20 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Inequalities in Child and Adolescent Health and Well-being)
Evidence suggests that socioeconomically disadvantaged children may experience a greater increase in overweight risk during macroeconomic downturns. We examined whether inequalities in the risk of overweight between Japanese children from single- and two-parent households increased after the 2008 global financial crisis. We used data from ten waves (2001 to 2011) of a nationwide longitudinal survey following all Japanese children born within 2 weeks in 2001 (boys: n = 15,417, girls: n = 14,245). Child overweight was defined according to age- and sex-specific cut-offs for Body Mass Index (BMI). Interaction between a binary measure of crisis onset (September 2008) and single-parent status was assessed using generalized estimating equation models. Covariates included baseline household income and income loss during the crisis. Girls from single-parent households showed a greater increase in the odds of overweight after crisis onset (adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 1.23; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.04–1.46) compared to girls from households with two parents, regardless of household financial status. A similar though statistically non-significant trend was observed among boys (AOR, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.92–1.30). Child overweight risk by single-parent status may increase during macroeconomic downturns, at least among girls. Financial aid to single-parent households may not suffice to redress this gap. View Full-Text
Keywords: child overweight; recession; single parents; health disparity; social support child overweight; recession; single parents; health disparity; social support
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Shiba, K.; Kondo, N. The Global Financial Crisis and Overweight among Children of Single Parents: A Nationwide 10-Year Birth Cohort Study in Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1001.

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