The prevalence and characteristics of childhood overweight in a multiethnic, school-based health setting

Wing Wah Ho, Richard E. Adams, Joseph A. Boscarino, Danielle Laraque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The prevalence and correlates of overweight and the risk of overweight in minority children attending urban school- based health centers remains poorly characterized. The purpose of our study was to examine the prevalence and characteristics of overweight and at risk for overweight in low socioeconomic status minority children enrolled in East Harlem school-based health centers in New York City. Design: A retrospective cross-sectional study during the period of September 2002 to August 2003. Setting: Four Pediatric School-based Health Centers in East Harlem. Participants: Children and adolescents, aged 5 to 18 years. Main Outcome Measures: We examined presence of overweight or the risk of overweight based on body mass index (BMI) percentile and other clinical characteristics. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess the relationship between demographics and clinical characteristics with overweight and the risk of overweight. Results: Of the 491 children enrolled, 45.8% were either overweight or at risk for overweight, with the highest risk observed in Hispanic/Latino children. This latter relation remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, and birthweight status. In addition, high screening office blood pressure was related to overweight status and higher BMI percentile. Conclusions: A large proportion of minorities, especially Hispanic/Latino children, attending school-based health centers in an urban community sample, are overweight or at risk for overweight. Elevated screening blood pressure was also a common co-morbidity. Further research should determine the predictors and correlates of overweight, and effective targeted school-based interventions should be tested in this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-103
Number of pages6
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Child
  • Epidemiology
  • Ethnic croups
  • Obesity


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