JOURNAL ARTICLE

Rising social inequalities in US childhood obesity, 2003-2007

Gopal K Singh, Mohammad Siahpush, Michael D Kogan
Annals of Epidemiology 2010, 20 (1): 40-52
20006275

PURPOSE: This study examines changes between 2003 and 2007 in obesity and overweight prevalence among U.S. children and adolescents 10 to 17 years of age from detailed racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

METHODS: The 2003 (N=46,707) and 2007 (N=44,101) National Survey of Children's Health were used to calculate overweight and obesity prevalence (body mass index [BMI] > or = 85th and > or = 95th percentiles, respectively). Logistic regression was used to model odds of obesity.

RESULTS: In 2007, 16.4% of U.S. children were obese and 31.6% were overweight. From 2003 to 2007, obesity prevalence increased by 10% for all U.S. children but increased by 23%-33% for children in low-education, low-income, and higher unemployment households. Obesity prevalence increased markedly among Hispanic children and children from single-mother households. In 2007, Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, [corrected] and American Indian children had 3.0-3.8 times higher odds of obesity and overweight than Asian children; children from low-income and low-education households had 3.4-4.3 times higher odds of obesity than children from higher socioeconomic households. The magnitude of racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in obesity and overweight prevalence increased between 2003 and 2007, with substantial social inequalities persisting even after controlling for behavioral factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Social inequalities in obesity and overweight prevalence increased because of more rapid increases in prevalence among children in lower socioeconomic groups.

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