Association of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, acculturation, and environmental factors with risk of overweight among adolescents in California, 2003

Min Kyung Ahn, Hee Soon Juon, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction Little has been published about racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of overweight among adolescents that accounts in detail for socioeconomic status, acculturation, and behavioral and environmental factors. Increased understanding of factors associated with overweight can provide a rational basis for developing interventions to address the obesity epidemic in the United States. Methods Using a cross-sectional analysis of data from adolescents who participated in the California Health Interview Survey 2003, we estimated the prevalence of overweight and at risk of overweight, combined as a single measure (AROW, body mass index =85th percentile). We used logistic regression models to examine associations between AROW and risk factors. Results Twenty-nine percent of California adolescents were AROW. The prevalence of AROW differed significantly by sex and race. Boys were more likely than girls to be AROW (33% vs 25%). American Indians/Pacific Islanders/others (39%) were at highest risk, followed by Hispanics (37%), blacks (35%), whites (23%), and Asians (15%). For boys, older age, Hispanic or American Indian/Pacific Islander/other race/ethnicity, lower education of parents, and longer residence in the United States were significantly associated with AROW. For girls, Hispanic or black race/ ethnicity, lower education of parents, and poor dietary habits were significantly associated with AROW. Conclusion The high prevalence of AROW among California adolescents in most racial/ethnic groups indicates the need for culturally specific and appropriate interventions to prevent and treat overweight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPreventing chronic disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy

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