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Racial/Ethnic Trends in Childhood Obesity in the United States

Objective: Childhood obesity has assumed epidemic proportions globally. Obesity is caused by an imbalance between caloric intake and utilization. Factors affecting obesity are largely behavioural (diet and physical activity), environmental and genetic in nature. This study assesses the effect of ethnic or racial background on childhood obesity in the US.

Methods: The study utilized a data set from the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health. The effect of ethnicity, gender and educational level of parents on childhood obesity was studied. Descriptive analysis was done, comparing means as the measure of central tendency and Microsoft Excel package was used to present the results graphically.

Results: Results of data analysis showed that 33.05% of children in the US are overweight. Higher rates of obesity, represented by BMI were observed in Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black children. Gender did not affect obesity rates but higher levels of education of adult in households were directly related to healthy weight.

Conclusions: Policy makers and stakeholders should strengthen childhood obesity prevention and management interventions. Hispanic and non-Hispanic black children as well as children in households with lower education should be prioritized.


Iyeseun Olusola Asieba

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