2013 Mumford Lecture in Medical Sociology

Thursday, April 11, 2013 from 03:30 PM to 05:00 PM

Free and Open to the Public

The Role of Place in Childhood Obesity

Thursday, April 11th from 3:30-5:00
Chapman Hall Dean’s Conference Room

Present by Dr. Joy Piontak, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at North Carolina State University.

Joy Piontak graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2003 with a degree in sociology. She recently earned her Ph.D. in sociology at North Carolina State University. Doctor Piontak will discuss her dissertation research which examines the effect of place and space and the interaction between individuals and their social place on rates of childhood obesity in North Carolina. Rates of childhood obesity have tripled in America in the last 30 years, making it one of the nation’s most pressing public health concerns. A substantial body of research examines the effect of individual behaviors and characteristics on childhood obesity, but the effects of structural inequality remain largely unexamined. Sociological research on the impacts of persistent residential and educational segregation by race and socioeconomic status provide models for developing a structural analysis of the relationship between inequality and childhood obesity. The research examines the effect of racial segregation and racial identity on childhood obesity. Using multilevel logistic regression, the study examines Body Mass Index (BMI) data collected from a sample of 74,822 public school students in grades 3-5 along with school- and county-level variables. The results indicate that school segregation is an important factor in the likelihood of obesity, but that the effect varied based on the student’s race. Moreover, students in rural counties had an increased likelihood of being obese compared to their urban counterparts, net the effect of other variables in the model.


Lara Foley