Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Child Obes. 2012 Oct;8(5):449-54. doi: 10.1089/chi.2011.0094.

The association between early childhood overweight and maternal factors.

Author information

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, USA.



Early childhood obesity, like other health disparities, disproportionately affects low-income populations. The purpose of this study is to determine the association between maternal sociodemographic factors and child overweight and obesity in a sample of low-income Mexican Americans.


The current study is a secondary analysis of baseline data that were collected as part of a longitudinal study of 374 children aged 12-24 months receiving Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services in a large metropolitan area in central/south Texas.Measures used in this secondary analysis were: Measured weight and height of the child and mother to calculate weight-for-stature and BMI, respectively; maternal sociodemographic variables (age, education, marital status, employment status, and nativity); maternal acculturation level; and child breastfed status. Descriptive statistics are reported as frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations (SD). Chi-squared Fisher exact tests assessed differences in maternal factors by child weight (healthy weight and overweight). Odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and levels of significance are reported.


Of the 372 mothers, most were young (mean age 26.1 years, SD = 6.1), 47.3% had graduated high school, 33.6% were employed at the time of the study, and 72.1% were U.S. born. No significant differences were observed for the maternal factors by child weight-for-stature z-score. However, maternal BMI statistically differed by child weight. Healthy weight mothers were more likely to have healthy weight children than overweight mothers. Maternal nativity and maternal acculturation were not statistically associated with child weight in this sample of low-income Mexican Americans.


The findings of the current study reinforce the importance of addressing the influence of maternal sociodemographic factors on child weight, in particular, maternal weight. A more comprehensive investigation of ecological factors' influence on obesity onset and control in young Mexican-American children is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center