Our Work

Precarious Employment as a Determinant of Obesity and Cardiometabolic Risk

Reducing obesity disparities could greatly reduce health disparities by race/ethnicity for the leading cause of death in the U.S., cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is critical to understand the systemic causes of disparities in obesity prevalence between racial/ethnic minority adults and children, compared to their white counterparts. Precarious employment, which is often characterized by low wages, shorter tenure, and irregular hours, making employment risky and stressful for the worker, is disproportionately represented among people of color. This study aims to provide novel insights into the impacts of precarious employment on overweight and cardiometabolic risk, and to investigate the pathways of these relationships. 

To do so, this study is  leveraging three unique datasets (the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, and the Occupational Information Network Database), to accomplish the following specific aims: 

  1. Determine the extent to which precarious employment affects overweight/obesity risk among adults and children in the U.S. and examine whether any association varies by race/ethnicity; 
  2. Determine whether biological stress mediates the association between precarious employment and overweight/obesity risk, among adults; 
  3. Determine whether precarious employment is associated with cardiometabolic risk biomarkers, among adults, and examine whether any association varies by race/ethnicity 

Evaluating the extent to which precarious employment is a determinant of overweight and cardiometabolic risk is vitally important for mitigating disparities in chronic disease risk and informing structural approaches for improving population health in the U.S.


National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities


Vanessa Oddo

Project Period

August 18, 2018 –  May 31, 2020

Grant # 


Project Status


Project Contact

Vanessa Oddo