Ecological Influences of Early Childhood Obesity:A Multi-Level Analysis
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Two studies were conducted to identify factors associated with the development of overweight/obesity during the early childhood period. The first study proposes to determine the timing of adipose rebound (AR) for United States (U.S.) children using the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This study found that sex and race/ethnicity differences in AR were identified at an early age. AR occurred earlier in girls and in Non-Hispanic Black children than in Non-Hispanic White children. To address the obesity problem, differences in timing of AR by sex and race/ethnicity should be considered in planning early and timely intervention efforts to more effectively prevent childhood obesity. The second study was conducted to explore the contributing factors for early childhood overweight/obesity within the ecological contexts of the child’s home, school and community and to determine how much each of these contexts contributes to childhood overweight/obesity using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) data. Significant variations were explained in childhood overweight/obesity by school (26.72%) and community (2.37%) even though was explained mainly by child and family factors (70.91%). Children were more overweight/obese if they were Hispanic or other minority races, their birth weight was more than 4,000 grams, they ate fruit fewer than 2 times per day, maternal weight gain during pregnancy, maternal weight status was categorized in the overweight and obese group, and the lower household income. This study suggests that investigations of early childhood overweight/obesity requires identifying contextual factors at multiple levels of the ecological environment of the child.
SubjectSecondary data analysis