Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Pediatrics. 2013 Dec;132(6):1006-13. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-2145. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Incidence of obesity among young U.S. children living in low-income families, 2008-2011.

Author information

Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, Mail Stop F-77, Atlanta, GA 30341.



To examine the incidence and reverse of obesity among young low-income children and variations across population subgroups.


We included 1.2 million participants in federally funded child health and nutrition programs who were 0 to 23 months old in 2008 and were followed up 24 to 35 months later in 2010-2011. Weight and height were measured. Obesity at baseline was defined as gender-specific weight-for-length ≥95th percentile on the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Obesity at follow-up was defined as gender-specific BMI-for-age ≥95th percentile. We used a multivariable log-binomial model to estimate relative risk of obesity adjusting for gender, baseline age, race/ethnicity, duration of follow-up, and baseline weight-for-length percentile.


The incidence of obesity was 11.0% after the follow-up period. The incidence was significantly higher among boys versus girls and higher among children aged 0 to 11 months at baseline versus those older. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, the risk of obesity was 35% higher among Hispanics and 49% higher among American Indians (AIs)/Alaska Natives (ANs), but 8% lower among non-Hispanic African Americans. Among children who were obese at baseline, 36.5% remained obese and 63.5% were nonobese at follow-up. The proportion of reversing of obesity was significantly lower among Hispanics and AIs/ANs than that among other racial/ethnic groups.


The high incidence underscores the importance of early-life obesity prevention in multiple settings for low-income children and their families. The variations within population subgroups suggest that culturally appropriate intervention efforts should be focused on Hispanics and AIs/ANs.


childhood obesity; incidence; infancy; population-based studies; preschool age; public health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

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