Racial and ethnic differentials in overweight and obesity among 3-year-old children

Am J Public Health. 2007 Feb;97(2):298-305. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.080812. Epub 2006 Dec 28.


Objectives: We estimated racial/ethnic differences in overweight and obesity in a national sample of 3-year-olds from urban, low-income families and assessed possible determinants of differences.

Methods: Survey, in-home observation, and interview data were collected at birth, 1 year, and 3 years. We used logistic regression analyses and adjusted for a range of covariates in examining overweight and obesity differentials according to race/ethnicity.

Results: Thirty-five percent of the study children were overweight or obese. Hispanic children were twice as likely as either Black or White children to be overweight or obese. Although we controlled for a wide variety of characteristics, we were unable to explain either White-Hispanic or Black-Hispanic differences in overweight and obesity. However, birthweight, taking a bottle to bed, and mother's weight status were important predictors of children's overweight or obesity at age 3 years.

Conclusions: Children's problems with overweight and obesity begin as early as age 3, and Hispanic children and those with obese mothers are especially at risk.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena / ethnology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eating / ethnology
  • Family Characteristics / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Food Supply
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Welfare / ethnology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*