BMI Changes in Russian Adults: The Role of Health Related Behaviors and Spousal Relationships

Sonya Huffman

Abstract


The paper investigates the effects of changes in marital status and health related behaviors
(smoking and drinking) on the body mass index (BMI) in Russian adults over a ten-year
period. Smoking and drinking behavior changes have played an important part in health
status changes over 1994 to 2004. The results indicate that the individual weight/BMI
changes asymmetrically in health determinants; the sign and the magnitude of the response
are different depending on the starting point and whether there is an increase or a decrease in
the explanatory variable. Males’ BMI decreases with smoking and increases with quitting
smoking, but females’ BMI increases with drinking alcohol and decreases with stopping
drinking. Losing a partner decreases only the females’ BMI, but gaining a spouse/partner is
associated with increases in BMI for both genders. For married females and males, the
change in spousal BMI is significantly positively related. Understanding interactions between
individual health-related behaviors and the set of determinants that contribute to such
behaviors is a fundamental step in the design of effective interventions.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/rae.v6i3.4968

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