Low-Income, Hispanic Toddlers More Likely To Be Overweight, Obese Than Whites, Blacks, Study Finds
Hispanic toddlers from low-income families are at the most risk of being overweight or obese, with 44% either overweight or obese, compared with 32% of white and black children from similar households, according to a study on the health of urban toddlers published last week in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health, the Chicago Tribune reports (Manier, Chicago Tribune, 12/29/06). Lead researcher Rachel Kimbro of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues examined data tracking from birth more than 2,000 three-year-olds from low-income families living in 20 large U.S. cities (Neergaard, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/29/06). The study, funded by federal agencies and private foundations, defined low-income families as those receiving federal assistance to purchase food. According to the study, children who had higher weights than 85% of those in their age group were considered overweight and children with higher weights than 95% of their peers were considered obese. Researchers found that 17% of all toddlers included in the study were overweight and that 18% were obese. The study found that 35% of low-income three-year-olds were overweight or obese (Smith, Boston Globe, 12/29/06). Children of obese mothers were particularly at risk, as were those who took a bottle to bed at age three, which included 14% of Hispanic toddlers, 6% of whites and 4% of blacks (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/29/06). While the exact reason for the disparity remains uncertain, researchers said that Hispanic mothers were more likely than their black and white counterparts to overfeed their children. In addition, other research has found that both black and Hispanic mothers consider "chubbiness" a sign of a healthy child, according to the Tribune (Chicago Tribune, 12/29/06).
An abstract of the study is available online.