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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Prevalence of Overweight among Head Start Preschool Children and Their Mothers

item Nicklas, Theresa
item Ranganathan, Rajeshwari - BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MED
item Hughes, Sheryl - BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MED

Submitted to: Obesity Research
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2004
Publication Date: November 1, 2004
Citation: Nicklas, T., Ranganathan, R., Hughes, S.O., Yang, S. 2004. Prevalence of overweight among Head Start preschool children and their mothers. Obesity Research. 12(Supplement):A219.


Technical Abstract: Overweight among preschool children is a concern because it may have long-term health consequences. Overweight begins early in life and is higher among minorities. The goal of this study was to look at the prevalence of overweight in low income, minority families of mothers and their preschool child. Data for this study were derived from self-report questionnaires and from collection of heights and weights on 193 mothers (58% Hispanic (H); 42% African-American (AA)) and 193 preschool children (56% H; 44% AA) attending Head Start centers in Houston, Texas. H mothers were significantly shorter and weighed less than AA mothers. Mean body mass index (BMI) was higher among H children than AA children; particularly H boys. Fifty-four percent of H mothers had less than 8th grade education compared to 5% among the AA mothers. Significantly more H mothers (79%) were married compared to AA mothers (52%). 52% of H mothers were employed. A higher percentage of H women reported not owning computer, DVD, VCR, or cell phone compared to AA woman. Thirty-two percent of the mothers were overweight and 44% were obese. A higher percentage of AA mothers were obese (53%) compared to H mothers (37%) (p<0.05). Sixteen percent of the preschool children were at risk of overweight and 17% were overweight. Among children who were at risk for overweight or were overweight, 32% of their mothers were overweight and 58% of their mothers were obese. Child BMI was significantly correlated with maternal BMI (r=.20; p<0.01), particularly for AA boys (r=.35; p<0.05). The prevalence of overweight among Head Start children was 1.3 times higher than national averages. The prevalence of Head Start children at risk for overweight was 1.0 (HA girls) to 1.8 (AA girls) times higher than national averages and the prevalence of overweight among the Head Start children was 1.1 (H girls) to 1.6 (H boys) times higher than national averages. Findings from this study suggest that the prevalence of overweight is pervasive among low-income, minority mothers and the prevalence of overweight in their preschool children exceeds national averages.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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