Association between income and obesity in black men: The role of work-life interference

Caryn N. Bell, Roland J. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity rates increase as household income increases among Black men, yet only a few studies have sought to understand this unique association. Scholars have posited that gendered stressors like role strain that are work-related could play a role in obesity among Black men. Work-life interference is a concept that captures the conflict between work life and family/personal life. Work-life interference is associated with obesity-related behaviors but has been understudied in Black men. The aim of this study was to determine the interrelationship between work-life interference, income, and obesity among Black men. Using data from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey, the associations between household income and odds of overweight and obesity (measured by body mass index) were assessed using ordinal logit regressions. Multiplicative interaction terms were used to assess the potential moderation of the association between income and log-odds of overweight/obesity by work-life interference. The results of our study demonstrate that work-life interference interacts with income ≥400% federal poverty level (FPL) on the log-odds of overweight/obesity (beta=2.10, standard error [se]=.87). Among those who reported work-life interference, Black men who had household income ≥400% FPL had higher log-odds of overweight/ obesity (beta=1.51, se=.74) compared with those with income <100% FPL. There was no association between income and obesity among Black men who did not report work-life interference. The results suggest that work-life interference plays an important role in the positive association between income and obesity in Black men. Future studies should explicate the obesogenic ways in which work and family/ personal life combine among high-income Black men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-636
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020


  • Men’s health
  • Obesity
  • Race
  • Work characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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