Patricia Coogan of the Boston University School of Public Health said people from lower education levels tend to weigh more -- in fact, to be obese.
Coogan analyzed data of more than 21,000 African-American women who were tracked from 1995 to 2009 and found women whose parents didn't graduate from high school were more likely to be obese.
"However, women were able to overcome this adverse effect of low parental education by improving their own education to level of a college graduate," Coogan said in a statement.
Coogan said educated women might have more knowledge of, and money for, exercise and healthier foods.
The study was published in the journal Epidemiology and Disease.