Background: Previous findings suggest that the loss of a family member is associated with health and mortality. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between bereavement experiences and BMI, and whether there are socio-demographic differences in this association.
Objective: To investigate the association between bereavement experiences and BMI, and whether there are sociodemographic differences in this association.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data with retrospective questions from the Swedish Level of Living Survey (LNU) of 2000, including 5,142 individuals. The bereavement experiences examined in the study include the loss of a sibling, a parent or a spouse, and time since the death of a parent. BMI (kg/m2) was calculated using self-reported measurements of weight and height. The association between bereavement and BMI was evaluated through linear regressions.
Results: After controlling for possible confounders, most of the models detected an association between bereavement and BMI. The fully-adjusted model showed that loss of parents was associated with a 0.45 increase in BMI (SE = 0.20). The effect also seemed to be dependent on time since the loss and social class position.
Conclusions: The present study is the first to examine associations between different types of familial losses and BMI. We find an association between the death of a family member and BMI, but it appears to be related to time since the death, type of bereavement experience and social class.
2014. Vol. 9, no 4, e95201- p.