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Overweight schoolchildren in New York State: Prevalence and characteristics


  • Wolfe, W.S.
  • Campbell, C.C.
  • Frongillo Jr., E.A.
  • Haas, J.D.
  • Melnik, T.A.


Objectives. Childhood overweight is an increasing public health concern. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of overweight in elementary school children in New York State and to identify characteristics associated with child fatness. Methods. Weight, height, triceps skinfold, midarm circumference, and a 24-hour dietary recall were taken on 1797 second- and fifth-grade students from 51 randomly selected schools in New York State outside of New York City. Parents completed a brief questionnaire. Results. In comparison with 1974 and 1980 national reference data, up to twice the expected percentages of children had values above the 85th, 90th, and 95th percentiles for body mass index, triceps skinfold, and arm fat area. Regression analyses suggested that children who tended to be fatter were members of low socioeconomic status, two-parent (but not single-parent) households; those with few or no siblings; those who ate school lunch; and those who skipped breakfast. Conclusions. The findings suggest that overweight is a problem among many elementary school children in New York State and that sociodemographic characteristics may be useful for targeting preventive efforts.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfe, W.S. & Campbell, C.C. & Frongillo Jr., E.A. & Haas, J.D. & Melnik, T.A., 1994. "Overweight schoolchildren in New York State: Prevalence and characteristics," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 84(5), pages 807-813.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:1994:84:5:807-813_3

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    Cited by:

    1. Anderson, Patricia M. & Butcher, Kristin F. & Levine, Phillip B., 2003. "Maternal employment and overweight children," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 477-504, May.
    2. Angela Fertig & Gerhard Glomm & Rusty Tchernis, 2009. "The connection between maternal employment and childhood obesity: inspecting the mechanisms," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-255, September.
    3. Fabrice Collard & Omar Licandro & Luis A. Puch, 2006. "Time-to-Build Echoes," Working Papers 2006-16, FEDEA.
    4. Crossman, Ashley & Anne Sullivan, Deborah & Benin, Mary, 2006. "The family environment and American adolescents' risk of obesity as young adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(9), pages 2255-2267, November.
    5. Emma García & José M. Labeaga & Ana Carolina Ortega Masagué, 2006. "Maternal Employment and Childhood Obesity in Spain," Working Papers 2006-17, FEDEA.
    6. Janet Currie, 2003. "U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 199-290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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