Trends and patterns in height and weight status of low-income U.S. children

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1993;33(4-5):409-21. doi: 10.1080/10408399309527640.


To better define the trends and patterns of growth for low-income children, we studied the anthropometry data collected by the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II) and the CDC Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PNSS). Based on NHANES II, we found that low-income children appear to have a greater prevalence of shortness (low height-for-age), but do not have a greater prevalence of overweight (high weight-for-height) when compared with children from higher income families. Based on 12 states that were monitored continuously by the PNSS from 1980 to 1989, low-income children under 5 years of age appear to have a stable trend of height and weight status, with the exception of Asian children, most of whom were from Southeast Asian refugee background, showed a dramatic improvement in height status. However, based on PNSS data for the years 1977 to 1990 from Louisiana and Michigan, school-aged children and adolescents appear to have become slightly taller as well as having significant increases in body weight in relation to height. An additional investigation is needed to verify this trend of increasing excess weight among older, low-income children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aging
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethnicity
  • Growth
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Poverty*