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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Examine Income Disparities in Children Who are Overweight or Obese

Researchers from the Exercise Science Department in the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health have published a paper in the International Journal of Obesity on disparities in childhood overweight and obesity status by income in the United States. Assistant professor of exercise science Dr. Glenn Weaver led the study, where they conducted an epidemiological examination using three nationally representative datasets.

Previous research has confirmed that overweight and obesity status has become a global epidemic and, adults and adolescents from low-income households are at higher risk for this condition. This study examined the relationship between income and prevalence of overweight/obesity status for children and adolescents ages 5-18 years from 1971 to 2014. The authors also analyzed the data within and across race/ethnicities.

The data set included a nationally representative sample of 74K participants included in one of three studies: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, & the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. The researchers looked at household income-to poverty ratio alongside prevalence of overweight/obesity status based on body mass index.

Dr. Weaver and his team found that children and adolescents from middle-income and high-income households were less likely to be overweight or obese compared to those from low-income households. When looking at race/ethnicity, they found that children and adolescents from middle- and high-income households were less likely to be overweight or obese compared to their low-income peers within the White, Hispanic, and other race/ethnic groups.

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