Online Program

Associations between Support for Policies to Address Obesity among Children in Kansas and Poverty Status

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Ghada Homsi, ME, Public Health Policy Research Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Pamela Williams, PhD, Social Policy, Health and Economics Research, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Laurel Curry, MPH, Center for Health Policy Science and Tobacco Research, RTI International, Washington, DC
Carol Schmitt, PhD, Public Health Policy Program, RTI International, Washington, DC
Todd Rogers, PhD, Public Health Research Division, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Background Kansas is ranked 27th worst among states on childhood overweight/obesity.  More than 30% of Kansas children aged 10-17 are overweight or obese, and those who live below the poverty level are more likely to be overweight/obese.  Little is known about the awareness of this problem among adults in the state, and the association between Kansans’ support for policies that address childhood obesity problem and poverty status.


Methods We used questions from the 2014 General Public Survey of 2,303 Kansas adults regarding support for policies that address childhood obesity to create dichotomous outcomes that distinguish respondents who are strongly in favor of those policies vs. all others. We conducted logistic regression analysis, controlling for respondent demographics, to examine the association between each policy outcome and poverty status.


Results  Among Kansans who perceive childhood obesity to be a problem in their community (84.0%), the majority live at or above the poverty level; however, those who live below the poverty level are more likely than those who live at or above poverty level to support policies that:  provide funding for low-income schools to purchase fresh, local food (OR=1.9, P<0.05); fund built environment projects to promote biking and walking (OR=1.7, P<0.05); and reward retailers that sell fresh, local foods (OR=1.9, P<0.01).

Conclusions Kansans who live below the poverty level are more likely to be vulnerable to obesity, and as this study finds, to support policies that address childhood obesity.  These findings can be useful to advocates working for policy change in Midwestern states.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe varying levels of support for specific policies that address the obesity problem among children in Kansas. Assess the association between Kansans’ support level for each of the childhood obesity related policies and poverty status.

Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead analyst for several funded projects that evaluate health risk behaviors including tobacco use, nutrition intake, and obesity. Among my scientific interests has been understanding the disparities in risk behaviors by socioeconomic groups.
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.