Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in obesity and overweight prevalence among US children aged 6–17 years are examined by using the 2011–12 National Survey of Children's Health and the 1999–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Between 1976 and 2014, the obesity prevalence among US children aged 6–17 increased by 242%. In 2011–14, 20% of male children and 19% of female children were obese. Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native children have three to four times higher odds of obesity and overweight than Asian children. Almost 1 in 4 Black, Hispanic, or American Indian/Alaska Native children are obese, compared with 1 in 15 Asian American children. The overweight prevalence for Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native children currently exceeds 40%. Children from low-income and low-education households have three times higher prevalence and nearly four times higher odds of obesity than children from high socioeconomic groups. Nearly half of all children in the low socioeconomic group are overweight, compared with one in five children in the high socioeconomic group. Marked racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities indicate the potential for considerable reduction in childhood obesity in the United States. We discuss implications of our findings for obesity prevention and reducing health inequalities.
Elsevier, Global Perspectives on Childhood Obesity, Second Edition, 2019, Pages 79-94