Socioeconomic factors in the development of childhood obesity and diabetes

Clin Sports Med. 2009 Jul;28(3):349-78. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2009.02.004.


Pediatric obesity has reached critical proportions. Although this pandemic touches individuals from all socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, the trend is more prevalent among children from families of lower-socioeconomic classes. The causes of this separation in obesity rates by socioeconomic background are multifold but include differences in the availability of healthier foods in homes and schools, as well as the availability of safe environments for physical activity. Equally concerning are increases in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes among certain ethnic groups and discrepancies in health care availability to children of lower-socioeconomic backgrounds. As our society attempts to improve the lifestyle of our children and decrease rates of obesity, it will be important to give focus to children of lower socioeconomic backgrounds in planning these potential interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Female
  • Food Supply / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Social Class*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult