Objectives: We describe results from year 1 of a surveillance system to monitor body mass index in children at the state level.
Methods: A sample of 6630 children attending Texas public schools, weighted to represent 4th, 8th, and 11th grades within race/ethnic subpopulations, was assessed. Body mass index was calculated from measured height and weight; demographic information was obtained from a questionnaire.
Results: Prevalence of overweight was 22.4%, 19.2%, and 15.5% for 4th-, 8th-, and 11th-grade students, respectively. Overweight prevalence was highest among Hispanic boys (29.5%-32.6%), fourth-grade Hispanic girls (26.7%), and fourth- and eighth-grade African American girls (30.8% and 23.1%, respectively). Eleventh-grade White/other girls had the lowest prevalence of overweight (5.5%).
Conclusions: These data confirm the increasing prevalence of overweight among US children, especially among Hispanic and African American students compared to White/other students and fourth-grade students relative to 8th- and 11th-grade students.