Disparities in pediatric obesity in the united states

Youfa Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


This paper describes the disparities in the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic, mainly based on recent nationally representative data. The prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased since the late 1970s; the over time shifts (changes) in distributions of various body fatness measures indicate that U.S. children have become fatter and the obese groups gained more body fat, especially more central obesity, as indicated by waist circumference. However, considerable between-group and regional disparities exist in the prevalence, fatness measures, and over time trends. The disparities and trends are complex, which reflects the complexity and dynamics in obesity etiology. Clearly, some population groups are affected more seriously than others. Native American children have the highest prevalence of obesity, whereas Asians have the lowest rate among all ethnic groups. Preschool age children have a lower obesity prevalence than older children. Young people in some states and cities are twice more likely to be overweight or obese than those living in other regions. Low-socioeconomic status is associated with obesity only among some population groups, e.g. white children and adolescents. Vigorous, effective interventions are needed to promote healthy lifestyles among U.S. young people and to reduce disparities in obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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