Sociodemographic factors and obesity in preadolescent black and white girls: NHLBI's Growth and Health Study

J Natl Med Assoc. 1997 Sep;89(9):594-600.


The association of sociodemographic and family composition data with obesity was studied in 1213 black and 1166 white girls, ages 9 and 10, enrolled in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Growth and Health Study. Obesity was defined as body mass index at or greater than age- and sex-specific 85th percentile as outlined in the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The prevalence of obesity was higher for pubertal girls than for prepubertal girls and for girls with older mothers/female guardians. As odds ratio of 1.14 was observed for each 5-year increase in maternal age. Obesity was less common for girls with more siblings; the odds for obesity decreased by 14% for each additional sibling in the household. In blacks, the prevalence of obesity was not related to parental employment or to parental education. In whites, the odds of obesity were higher for girls with no employed parent/guardian in the household and for girls with parents or guardians with lower levels of educational attainment. Examining the associations between sociodemographic factors and risk of childhood obesity provides important clues for understanding racial differences in obesity, a major risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Blacks*
  • Child
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whites*