National, state, and local disparities in childhood obesity

Christina Bethell, Lisa Simpson, Scott Stumbo, Adam C. Carle, Narangerel Gombojav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New data from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health show that the percentage of children ages 10-17 who are overweight (body mass index in the eighty-fifth to ninety-fourth percentiles) remained stable, while the national prevalence of obesity (BMI in the ninety-fifth percentile and higher) grew significantly, from 14.8 percent in 2003 to 16.4 percent in 2007. This increase in obesity accounted for the entire increase in the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity between 2003 and 2007 (from 30.6 percent to 31.6 percent). An estimated 10.58 million children, or nearly one in three children ages 10-17, were overweight or obese in 2007. Our findings suggest that the obesity epidemic among children may not yet have reached its plateau for some groups of children. The data also reveal persistent and highly variable disparities in childhood overweight and obesity within and among states, associated with socioeconomic status, school outcomes, neighborhoods, type of health insurance, and quality of care. This requires policy makers' attention nationally and within states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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