Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Epidemiology & Community Health

First Advisor

Dr. Resa M. Jones


Background: The percentage of overweight children has tripled in the last thirty years. Inconsistent findings are published regarding the relationship between socioeconomic variables and being overweight in childhood.Objective: To determine whether socioeconomic variables are associated with risk of being overweight among six year olds. Methods: Six year olds with BMI data were selected from the National Survey of Children's Health (n=4,362). Variables were coded and a low socioeconomic index was created. Using population weights, descriptive statistics were generated and regression was utilized to assess the relationship between socioeconomic variables and being 'at risk' for overweight. Socioeconomic variables were also compared by risk status.Results: Approximately 47% of the sample was 'at risk' of overweight (BMI ≥ 85th percentile). Males and nonwhites were more likely to be 'at risk' than their counterparts. After adjustment, the proportion of those with Medicaid was greater among the 'at risk' group compared to those who were 'not at risk' (38.3% vs. 35.3%' p-value=0.010). Those 'at risk' were also more likely to have free/reduced-cost breakfast/lunch (60.3% vs. 51.8%, p-value=Conclusion: Several low socioeconomic indicators as well as a composite index were associated with being 'at risk' for childhood overweight. With the current obesity epidemic, governmental agencies should identify low socioeconomic groups and target interventions specific to these vulnerable populations.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Epidemiology Commons