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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY Title: Excess weight gain in elementary school-aged Hispanic children

item Johnston, Craig -
item Palcic, Jennette -
item Stansberry, Sandra -
item El-Mubasher, Abeer -
item Tyler, Chermaine -
item Perdue, Laura -
item Woehler, Debbie -

Submitted to: North American Association for the Study of Obesity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2008
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Citation: Johnston, C., Palcic, J., Stansberry, S., El-Mubasher, A., Tyler, C., Perdue, L., Woehler, D. 2008. Excess weight gain in elementary school-aged Hispanic children [abstract]. North American Association for the Study of Obesity. 16(Suppl.1):S247-248.

Technical Abstract: The current data was collected as part of a 6-year longitudinal study in which elementary schools from a southeast Texas school district were provided with resources to encourage children to make healthier choices. The objective of the current study was to evaluate children’s change in body mass index (BMI) percentile throughout the school year and summer with respect to ethnicity, economic status and weight classification. About 3,000 children from the kindergarten class of 2005 participated in this study. Their heights and weights were measured at the beginning and end of each school year beginning in the Fall of 2005 and ending in the Fall of 2007. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed that the entire sample experienced a significant increase in BMI percentile from Fall of 2005 to Fall of 2007 F= 28.32, p<.001. Ethnicity was found to have a significant effect on BMI percentile F = 29.45, p<.001. Hispanic children had the highest overall BMI percentile and were significantly heavier than Caucasian and Asian children. BMI percentile was also found to differ significantly with regards to economic status F =16.65, p<.001. Students with reduced price or free lunch had significantly higher BMI percentiles than children who paid for their lunch. The results of this study are particularly troubling with regards to the trend of weight gain in Hispanic children. Not only are Hispanic children significantly heavier than other ethnicities, but their rates of obesity and weight gain are increasing more rapidly than other ethnicities as well.

Last Modified: 11/24/2015
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