263210 Disparities in Childhood Obesity Risk: Results from Pennsylvania School Based BMI Surveillance

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lisa Bailey-Davis, MA, RD , Public Health Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA
Michael Horst, PhD, MPHS, MS , Lancaster General Research Institute, Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA
Marianne Hillemeier, PhD, MPH , Heatlh Policy and Administration, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Allison Lauter , Lancaster General Research Institute, Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA
Background: Nationally representative surveys provide insight into overall childhood obesity trends and disparities, but do not identify patterns for individual states. School-based surveillance is recommended, but it is unclear whether surveillance identifies children at greatest risk.

Purpose: To examine three year trends and spatial clustering in the prevalence of obesity among elementary-aged children in Pennsylvania, and to investigate variation in obesity by local school district characteristics.

Significance: Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, and one-third of all children are overweight or obese. School-based BMI surveillance data provide an opportunity to better understand how local context relates to child obesity risk.

Methodology: Height and weight screening was conducted for ~980,000 Pennsylvania children aged 5-12 years in three consecutive school years (2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09). School district (n=501) data regarding percent obese (BMI≥95%ile) were analyzed using multivariate regression to identify associations with population density, mean academic achievement, and a family distress index that included poverty rate, percent with less than high school education, percent single-parent households, and unemployment rate.

Results: Overall obesity prevalence remained stable at 17.6 percent over the period. School districts in the most rural areas had adjusted obesity rates over two percentage points higher on average than urban school districts (p<0.001). Children living in distressed districts and those with lower academic achievement were more likely to be obese (p<.001 in each case).

Conclusions: Analyses of school-based BMI surveillance data can highlight disparate risks of obesity and identify districts most in need of obesity prevention and intervention efforts.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Describe disparities in childhood obesity risk identified by analyses of Pennsylvania school-based BMI surveillance data.

Keywords: Obesity, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensive experience in children's health, with an MPH from Harvard SPH, an MSN from Yale in children's health and a PhD from University of Michigan in population health. My research interests include Immigration and Immigrant Adaptation, Health Disparities, Collaborating on Projects: Poverty, Low Birthweight, and Early Cognitive Delay: A Population-Based Approach Association between Maternal Pre-pregnancy and Pregnancy Health, WIC Participation, and Child and Maternal Obesity, National Children's Study, Mexican Children of Immigrants Program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.