The Influence of Socioeconomic Status and Ethnicity on Body Mass Index in Children in Northwest Arkansas

Publication Year:
2016
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Repository URL:
https://scholarworks.uark.edu/nursuht/46
Author(s):
Davidson, Madison E.
Tags:
Maternal and Child Health; Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing
thesis / dissertation description
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of body fat that is calculated based on the height, weight, age, and gender of a child. Body Mass Index (BMI) is an important indicator of potential health risks in children. Determining correlations between ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and BMI may assist in identifying children at risk for comorbidities associated with either an elevated or low BMI. An elevated BMI may lead to complications later in life such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, type 2 diabetes, obesity in adulthood, and psychosocial issues (Geason & Dodd, 2009). On the other hand, a low BMI could lead to decreased immune function, respiratory and digestive diseases, and cancer (Department of Health & Human Services, 2014). 32.3% of children entering kindergarten in Arkansas are classified as either overweight or obese (Arkansas Center for Health Improvement [ACHI], 2014). Socioeconomics and ethnicity seem to play a role in the prevalence of obesity in these children. Minorities have a higher prevalence of obesity in Arkansas children. The purpose of this study is to examine if socioeconomics and ethnicity impact BMI rates at birth, two, four, five, and seven years of age. A retrospective medical record review of 200 children born between 2009 and 2014 being seen at Harvey Pediatrics was conducted. This pediatric clinic serves patients in Northwest Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and Northeast Oklahoma. Results showed that there was no statistically significant correlation between socioeconomic status and ethnicity on body mass index from birth to five years of age. The correlation coefficient with birth weight and ethnicity was statistically significant at -.258. Although there was a statistically significant difference in ethnicity and birth weight, that significant difference did not follow throughout childhood. Data showed that the majority of data reported on Caucasian children due to lack of data among other ethnic groups. Further investigation needs to be conducted from a different database to determine if there is a correlation between socioeconomic status and ethnicity on BMI.