Marital Status and Marital Transition Related to Changes of Body Mass Index, Obesity, and Underweight: An Indonesia Longitudinal Analysis

Seminar no. 1258
3 April Time 12.30 – 13.30 hrs.

Speaker: Maretalinia (Ph.D. Candidate in Demography, IPSR)

Marriage is one of the most important life events in people’s life. Marital transitions throughout life from birth to death can impact individuals’ well-being, including health. Previous studies that examine the impact of marriage on health mostly focused on mortality, self-reported health status, and psychological well-being. The study to understand how marriage affects health predictors has been scarce. Body Mass Index (BMI) is one of the major predictors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the leading cause of death globally. BMI measures obesity and underweight.  In Indonesia, the prevalence of obesity among those aged 18 years or older has increased from 19.60% in 2013 to 26.60% in 2018 for men and 32.90% to 44.40% for women. Meanwhile, underweight has become more important in post-industrial societies as thinness is more valuable and fatness is stigmatized. Using longitudinal data which can offer temporal insights, this study examined the impact of marital status and marital transition on changes in body weight, the status of obesity, and underweight. The data was derived from the Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS) Wave 4 in 2007 and Wave 5 in 2014.  The analytical sample will include 16,537 respondents aged 20 years who joined both waves. The dependent variables were changes in body weight, obesity, and underweight status. The main independent variables are marital status and marital transition. Other potentially associated factors will be controlled including socio-demographic and health behavior.  Multiple linear regression and generalized estimating equations (GEE) were tested using both wide and long data shapes. The results revealed an increasing percentage of obesity among males and females from 9.22 to 13.72 and from 20.13 to 29.70, respectively. Multivariate results found entering marriage from never marriage among males and females associated with increasing 2.22 kg, and 0.89 kg, respectively. Moreover, males and females who experienced marriage were 2.24 and 2.52 times more likely to be overweight/obese. It can be concluded that marriage increases the probability to increase body we of being overweight/obese and widowed increases the probability of being underweight. This study has the limitation of time measurement which was only 2 waves. Future studies can include more study time and could be differentiated by other issues, for example: rural vs urban, etc. This study may provide knowledge about the impact of marital variables such as social roles on body weight, obesity, and underweight.