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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Socioeconomic Differences Associated with Overweight Status in Preschool Children and Their Mothers

item Morales, Miriam - BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MED
item Nicklas, Theresa

Submitted to: International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 17, 2003
Publication Date: July 20, 2003
Citation: Morales, M., Nicklas, T. 2003. Socioeconomic differences associated with overweight status in preschool children and their mothers. International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.


Technical Abstract: Childhood obesity is an important public health concern. This study investigated the socioeconomic differences associated with overweight status in a cross-sectional sample of 231 Head Start preschool children aged 3-5 years (55% Hispanic-American (HA), 45% African-American (AA), 45% male) and 193 mothers (58%HA, 42%AA; we excluded fathers and pregnant mothers). Overweight was defined as BMI > 85th percentile using CDC standards (age and gender specific for children). We collected socioeconomic data on all 231 caregivers which included the number of computers with internet, VCR, and DVD in the home, marital status, employment status, education and income. 37% of the children were overweight or at risk for overweight and 20% were overweight. A greater proportion of HA boys (32%) were overweight compared to AA boys (11%) (p=0.011). AA mothers had a higher mean BMI (32+/-8) compared to HA mothers (29+/-6) (p=0.10) and there were no significant age differences among mothers (31+/-9). A greater proportion of AA mothers (53%) were obese compared to HA mothers (37%) (p=0.05). We found a lower percentage of HA had computers with Internet, VCR, DVD (p<0.001); cell phone (p<0.01); and a TV in child's bedroom (p=0.002). Despite these differences, socioeconomic factors were a poor predictor of overweight status among children and mothers within this population.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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