(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Obesity rates may be affected by a child's
ethnicity and race starting as early as four years old.
New research suggests American Indian and Native Alaskan children are twice
as likely to be obese than children who are white or Asian. The study also
shows whites and Asians have a lower risk of obesity than Hispanic and black
Obesity in the children was determined by their body mass index (BMI),
dividing their weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. This
technique is often used for adults; in this case for preschool students, the
children's BMI was converted to percentiles for age and sex. Scores in the
95th percentile or higher were classified as obese in this study.
“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," Sarah Anderson,
lead author of the study and assistant professor of epidemiology at Ohio
State University in Columbus, was quoted as saying.
The analysis does not offer reasons behind the discrepancy among races.
Overall, 18.4 percent of American four year olds are obese. Experts say the
importance is in solving the problem at an early age to prevent future
health issues related to obesity.
SOURCE: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2009;163:303-308