Obesity Rates Based on Ethnicity

In an article published on Health Central from Ivanhoe Newswire, it was reported that obesity rates may be influenced by a child’s ethnicity and race as early as 4 years old.

A recent study, headed by Sarah Anderson, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University in Columbus, suggests that American Indians and Native Alaskan children are twice as likely to become obese that White or Asian children. Hispanic and African-American children also have a higher risk of becoming obese than White or Asian children.

To determine obesity in the children, the researchers computed their body mass index (BMI) by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared. To yield accurate results, the researchers converted the children’s percentiles for age and sex, since BMI is usually used for adults.

Scores in the 95th percentile of higher were categorized as obese.

To explain the significance of the study, Anderson said, "If we understand better how it is that these racial ethnic disparities have come to be at such a young age, that can help us design obesity prevention programs that will be useful before children enter school," (Via: Health Center).

However, Anderson and colleagues’ study does not provide explanations regarding the discrepancy among the races.

At present, 18.4 percent of American four year olds are obese – a problem that has been in steadily growing over the last few decades. Experts say that it is important to find a solution for this problem while the a child is still young to prevent obesity-related health issues that are likely to beset him during adulthood.

Source: Health Central