Background: Based on the Marginalization-related Diminished Returns (MDRs) framework, a wide array of socioeconomic status (SES) indicators including but not limited to household income tend to show weaker effects for members of marginalized social groups. Limited knowledge exists on MDRs of household income on children exercise frequency.
Aims: Built on the MDRs framework, we tested the hypothesis of whether the effect of household income on exercise frequency differs for Black than White children. We hypothesized that: 1) there is a positive association between household income and exercise frequency for American households.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, data came from wave one of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study which included 8027 non-Hispanic Black or White American children between ages 9 and 10 years old. The predictor was household income. The outcome was children exercise frequency. Linear regression was used for data analysis.
Results: According to our pooled sample regression, household income was positively associated with children exercise frequency. We found a significant interaction between household income and race, suggesting that the positive association between household income and exercise frequency was weaker for Black than White children.
Conclusions: Diminished returns of household income on children’s exercise may explain poor health of high SES Black children. That is, a smaller boosting effect of household income on changing health behaviors for Blacks than Whites may be one of many mechanisms that deteriorate health of high SES Black children. Not all racial disparities in health are due to SES but also diminished marginal returns of socioeconomic status indicators such as household income for the members of marginalized and racialized communities. Research should study how the context in which Black families live, play, and work contributes to low exercise frequency of high SES Black children.