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.