Changes in overweight in youth over a period of 7 years: Impact of ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic status

Donna B. Moore, Patricia B. Howell, Frank A. Treiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine changes in overweight in youth over a period of 7 years, within the context of ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Methods: Participants in a longitudinal study of cardiovascular (CV) risk factor development were evaluated on 2 occasions an average of 7.2 ± 0.5 years apart. There were 253 subjects (121 Blacks, 132 Whites, 130 females) with a mean age of 8.8 ± 2.0 years at the initial visit. SES was determined by Hollingshead Social Status Index and was categorized as low, middle (±1 standard deviation from mean), and high. Overweight was defined as >85th percentile in Body Mass Index (BMI) for age and gender (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey [NHANES] norms). Results: Standardized BMI increased significantly over the course of the study (P<.001). The increase was not significantly different by ethnicity or by gender (both P values>.05) but did significantly differ by SES (P<.001). Overall, the prevalence of overweight increased from 31% to 40% (P<.001); howevever, for those with low SES, the prevalence increased from 37% to 67% (P<.001). Conclusion: Lower SES youth, regardless of ethnicity or gender, exhibited extremely large increases in general adiposity over time and are at particular risk for development of a number of obesity-related problems, such as hypertension. Primary prevention of obesity is needed in youth, particularly among those from low SES backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S1-83-S1-86
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 18 2002



  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

Cite this