To assess the prevalence of growth problems among school entrants in an urban population who were not preselected on poverty or other nutritional risk criteria, we analyzed height and weight measurements for 5170 4- and 5-year-old children (91.9% black, 5.5% white, and 2.6% Hispanic) who enrolled in District of Columbia public school kindergartens in the Fall of 1985. Compared to the National Center for Health Statistics reference, the white girls and boys were of average height, Hispanic girls were of average height, and Hispanic boys were shorter than average. The black girls and boys were taller than average. In light of published evidence for black-white differences in the timing and duration of growth, we tentatively attributed this tall stature to advanced skeletal maturation of the black children relative to the predominantly white United States population growth standards. Underweight was virtually absent in this population. Excess overweight was noted in all sex-racial/ethnic subgroups, particularly among Hispanic children. However, the extent to which overweight (high weight-for-height percentile) represents obesity in kindergarten-aged children and in different racial/ethnic groups needs clarification before the implications of the finding of excess overweight can be fully understood. Overall, the growth of these children was on a par with the National Center for Health Statistics growth reference population.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1990|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health