Public Health Resources


Date of this Version



Pediatric Obesity 14 Oct 2015


U.S. Government Work


Background: Understanding state/territorial trends in obesity by race/ethnicity helps focus resources on populations at risk.

Objective: This study aimed to examine trends in obesity prevalence among low-income, preschool-aged children from 2008 through 2011 in U.S. states and territories by race/ethnicity.

Methods: We used measured weight and height records of 11.1 million children aged 2–4 years who participated in federally funded health and nutrition programmes in 40 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. We used logistic regression to examine obesity prevalence trends, controlling for age and sex.

Results: From 2008 through 2011, the aggregated obesity prevalence declined among all racial/ethnic groups (decreased by 0.4–0.9%) except American Indians/ Alaska Natives (AI/ANs); the largest decrease was among Asians/Pacific Islanders (A/PIs). Declines were significant among non-Hispanic whites in 14 states, non- Hispanic blacks in seven states/territories, Hispanics in 13 states, A/PIs in five states and AI/ANs in one state. Increases were significant among non-Hispanic whites in four states, non-Hispanic blacks in three states, Hispanics in two states and A/PIs in one state. The majority of the states/territories had no change in obesity prevalence.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate slight reductions in obesity prevalence and variations in obesity trends, but disparities exist for some states and racial/ethnic groups.