Obesity and Socioeconomic Status in Children and Adolescents: United States, 2005-2008

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This latest national study, conducted from 2005 to 2008,  shows that the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased at all income and for all education levels since a similar study was conducted from 1988-1994.

In 2007-08 about 17 percent of children and adolescents from 2 to19 were obese.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted from 2005-2008 found that low income children and adolescents are more likely to be obese. However, most obese young people are not necessarily low income. To be classified as low income, a family must be below 130 percent of the poverty level.

Thirty-eight percent of obese children live in households with incomes between 130 percent and 350 percent of the poverty level, and 38 percent live in low-income families, with includes below 130 percent of the poverty level. The remaining 24 percent live in households at or above 350 percent of the poverty level.  

According to the survey results, children living in homes where the head of the household has at least a college degree are less likely to be obese. Among girls, 8.3 percent in college-educated homes were obese, compared with 20.4 percent in homes where the head of the household had less than a college degree. The only obesity level that did not change between 1988 to 1994 and 2005 to 2008 was that of girls in households where the head had at least a college degree.

Education and income level were better indicators that a child would become obese than race, according to this study.  

Free. 8 pages. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db51.pdf.