Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/17/2003
Publication Date: 7/20/2003
Citation: Morales, M., Nicklas, T., Hughes, S., Micheli, N., Deshmukh-Taskar, P. 2003. Socioeconomic status as a predictor of overweight and obesity among head start preschool children and their mothers. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 103(9):A-87. Interpretive Summary: AN INTERPRETIVE SUMMARY IS NOT REQUIRED.
Technical Abstract: Childhood obesity is an important public health concern. This study investigated the socioeconomic (SES) predictors of overweight status in a cross-sectional sample of 231 Head Start preschool children ages 3-5 years (55% Hispanic (H), 45% African-American (AA), 45% male) and 193 mothers (58% H, 42% AA). We collected mother's SES data including the number of computers with Internet, VCR, DVD, marital status, employment status, education, income. Overweight was defined as BMI >= 85th percentile using CDC age and gender specific standards. Mean BMI of mothers was 30; being higher among AA (32) than H (29) (p <= 0.001). 76% of the mothers were overweight or obese (BM1 >= 25) and 44% were obese (BMI >= 30). 37% of the children were overweight or at risk for overweight and 20% were overweight. More H children (39%) were overweight or at risk for overweight than AA children (34%). Among the children, we found lower percentages of H had computers with Internet, VCR, DVD (p < 0.001), TV in child's bedroom (p = 0.002). Using logistic regression models we found that mothers with a higher number of computers were twice as likely to be overweight. Despite these differences, SES was a poor predictor of overweight status among preschool children and their mothers. The prevalence of overweight in Head Start children was 1.5 to 2.1 times higher than national preschool data. These findings suggest that the prevalence of obesity is pervasive among Head Start mothers of preschool children and the prevalence of overweight in their preschool children exceeds national averages.