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Impact of Parental Incarceration on Body Weight Status of Children and Young Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Objectives: Parental incarceration might impact children's body weight through household financial strain, lack of caregiving, social stigma, and stress. In this study, we systematically reviewed scientific literature linking parental incarceration to body weight status of children and young adults. Methods: A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, EBSCO, and Cochrane Library for relevant peer-reviewed articles and abstracts. Meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the association between parental incarceration and children's body weight. Results: Five US-based studies were identified. Three examined children 17 years and younger, and 2 examined adults 18-34 years. After adjusting for individual, family and neighborhood characteristics, 2 reported a negative association, 2 reported a null relationship, and one reported a positive association between parental incarceration and children's weight. Meta-analysis did not identify an association between parental incarceration and children's body weight. Conclusion: Evidence linking parental incarceration to children's body weight remains limited due to the small body of heterogeneous literature and observational design. Future research should assess the impact of parental incarceration on body weight across children's stage of development, type and duration of incarceration, nature of conviction, population subgroup and geographical region, and elucidate the psychosocial pathways linking parental incarceration to unhealthy body weight.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Management and Journalism, Shenyang Sport University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China; Brown School, Washington University, St. Louis, MO, USA; University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA 2: School of Management and Journalism, Shenyang Sport University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China;, Email: [email protected] 3: Department of Kinesiology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, Liaoning, China 4: School of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China 5: Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, USA 6: College of Physical Education and Sports, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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