Article

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Secular Trends for Childhood BMI, Weight, and Height*

Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Obesity (Impact Factor: 4.39). 03/2006; 14(2):301-8. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2006.39
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The prevalence of childhood overweight in the United States has markedly increased over the last 30 years. We examined differences in the secular trends for BMI, weight, and height among white, black, and Mexican-American children.
Analyses were based on nationally representative data collected from 2 to 17 year olds in four examinations (1971-1974 through 1999-2002).
Overall, black children experienced much larger secular increases in BMI, weight, and height than did white children. For example, over the 30-year period, the prevalence of overweight increased approximately 3-fold (4% to 13%) among 6- to 11-year-old white children but 5-fold (4% to 20%) among black children. In most sex-age groups, Mexican-American children experienced increases in BMI and overweight that were between those experienced by blacks and whites. Race/ethnicity differences were less marked among 2 to 5 year olds, and in this age group, white children experienced the largest increase in overweight (from 4% to 9%). In 1999-2002, the prevalence of extreme BMI levels (> or =99th percentile) reached 6% to 7% among black girls and Mexican-American boys.
Because of the strong tracking of childhood BMI levels into adulthood, it is likely that the secular increases in childhood overweight will greatly increase the burden of adult disease. The further development of obesity interventions in different racial/ethnic groups should be emphasized.

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    • "Thus, secular changes were prominent in the 20 th century (especially after World War II) when they were expressed as a steady increase in mean height and weight of European and US populations (van Wieringen 1986). Most reports have focused on generation changes in height and body mass (Freedman et al. 2006, Malina et al. 2010, Kryst et al. 2012, Sun et al. 2012). Nevertheless , and according to Hermanussen et al. (2010), the so-called secular trend in human growth is not a consistent and homogeneous event that takes place uniformly affecting height, weight, body shape, various circumferences, and other anthropometric characters. "
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    • "For example, children and adults in lower-income groups and several racial/ethnic minority groups—African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, American Indians , Pacific islanders—as well as persons from the southern part of the United States carry substantially greater risk for obesity than comparison populations (i.e., high-income groups, non-Hispanic whites, or persons from outside the South) (Kumanyika et al., 2008; Ogden et al., 2010a, 2010b; Wang and Beydoun, 2007). Among children , obesity levels have generally increased more steeply among African-Americans and Mexican-Americans than among whites (Freedman et al., 2006). 1 Although this essay does not limit its scope to children, obesity disparities among children are critical because food preferences and practices remain fairly stable over the lifecourse (Harris and Bargh, 2009). Children are also a common intended audience for marketing communications about food, prompting researchers in public health and other academic disciplines to investigate the role of marketing activity, and the food marketing environment more broadly, in the obesity epidemic. "
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    • "As shown in previous studies [4], the prevalence of severe obesity varies markedly by race/ethnicity group. In the current study, we observed rates of 4.9%, 8.0%, and 7.3% for white, black, and Hispanic youth, respectively, which are higher across all racial/ethnic groups than Q7 those derived from the 1999–2002 NHANES data [4]. Although differences in sampling may explain differences in prevalence across studies, the current findings provide compelling evidence of high rates of severe obesity in American middle school children. "
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