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Hawaii Med J. 2011 Jul;70(7 Suppl 1):16-20.

Poorer general health status in children is associated with being overweight or obese in Hawai'i: findings from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health.

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  • 1Family Health Services Division, Hawai'i State Department of Health, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA.


Obesity is a widespread national issue that affects the health and well-being of millions of people; particular attention has been focused on the burden among children. The National Survey of Children's Health data from 2007 was used to examine the relationship of child health status and unhealthy weight (overweight/obese defined as body mass index in ≥ 85 th percentile) among 874 children aged 10 to 17 years of age in Hawai'i. In particular, the parentally reported child's general health status was assessed comparing those with a poorer health status (defined as "good/fair/poor") to those with a better one (defined as "excellent/very good"). Descriptive analysis and multiple logistic regression analysis examined risk for overweight/obese with child's general health status, accounting for gender, race, and socioeconomic factors. More children with a poorer health status (46.5%; 95%CI=33.2-60.2) were overweight/obese compared to those of better health status (25.8%; 95%CI=21.9-30.2). Estimates of overweight/obese were high in Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (38.6%; 95%CI: 28.9-49.4), multiracial (30.9%; 95%CI=24.2-38.6) children, and children whose parents had less than 12 years education (56.8%; 95%CI=32.8-78.0). Multivariate logistic regression modeling showed a 2.92 (95%CI=1.52-5.61) greater odds for overweight/obese status in children with a poorer health status compared to those of better health status after accounting for age, race, gender, and parental education. Gender, race, and parental education were also significant factors associated with overweight/obese in the final adjusted model. It is important that children that are overweight or obese receive appropriate health screenings including assessments of general health status. Children in high risk socioeconomic groups should be a particular focus of prevention efforts to promote health equity and provide opportunities for children to reach their potential.

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