Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Simone W. Salandy


Obesity remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Historically, sparse research efforts have focused on informal caregiving as a possible risk factor for developing chronic illnesses across the United States. Identifying additional subgroups at higher risk of becoming obese could provide insights into where public health practitioners, the health care community, and policy makers can direct limited resources through a more targeted approach. The theoretical foundation for the current project was the social cognitive theory. In this secondary correlational analysis using the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data set, the relationship between caregiver status, length of time as a caregiver, and obesity status was examined using descriptive statistics, chi-square test of association, and logistic regression analysis. The final population for the study included all respondents who participated in the 2018 BRFSS survey in the three states of Georgia, New Jersey, and Oregon where caregiver questions were asked (N = 18,341). The results indicated a weak association between informal caregiving and being overweight/obese. This study focused on the role of informal caregiving and obesity prevalence, thereby identifying another subset of the population that may be at potential risk for developing adiposity. Findings may be used by health professionals to promote self-care in caregivers leading to positive social change.