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J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Oct;93(10):1136-40.

Height, weight, and body mass index of American Indian schoolchildren, 1990-1991.

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  • 1Nutrition and Dietetics Section, Indian Health Service, Rockville, MD 20852.



To describe the current height and weight status of American Indian children who live on or near Indian reservations nationwide.


9,464 American Indian schoolchildren aged 5 through 18 years.


Data for height, weight, and body mass index of the schoolchildren were compared with two national reference data sets, the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II) and the Mexican-American population of the Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HHANES-MA).


The three populations were similar in height, but the American Indian children weighed more, although not at a statistically significant level, and had a statistically significant higher body mass index than the NHANES II reference population for nearly every age and sex group. The overall prevalence of overweight in the American Indian children (exceeding the 85th percentile of the reference population) was 39.3% compared with the NHANES II population and 28.6% compared with the HHANES-MA population. The overall prevalence of underweight in the American Indian sample was substantially less than the expected 15% compared with either the NHANES II or HHANES-MA population.


Overweight is much more prevalent in American Indian children than among other children in the United States at all ages and in both sexes. This may have important implications for chronic disease risk and emphasizes the need for targeting obesity prevention efforts to American Indian children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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