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How To... - Interpret Data - Case Studies - Obesity
Is obesity a problem?

 
 More info on Obesity Case Study:
 Is obesity a  problem?
 Is it changing over time?
 Where is the problem?
 Who is affected?
 Is it changing among specific groups over time?
   

Healthy People 2010 established a target obesity prevalence of 5 percent for children 6 to 19 years of age. Although the WIC program serves children younger than 6 years of age, this objective is still used to determine if obesity is a health problem in this case study since research has shown that the tracking of obesity from childhood into adulthood begins as early as 2 years of age.

For children 2 years or older, BMI (Body Mass Index)-for-age is used to assess overweight. Five percent of children are expected to be above the 95th percentile of BMI-for-age, defined as obesity , due to normal biologic variation. A prevalence greater than the expected rate of 5 percent indicates that the population has a higher proportion of individuals with obesity than would be expected in the general population.

In the U.S. population (NHANES III) the prevalence of obesity for children 2 to 5 years of age is 10.4%, compared to 13% in the National PedNSS. Both are above the Healthy People 2010 target of 5% and, therefore, considered to be a public health problem. To determine if obesity is a health problem within a state PedNSS population, we will compare the percent of obesity from a state WIC program to the National PedNSS prevalence, as well as the Healthy People 2010 target for obesity and the U.S. population.


Prevalence of Obese Children

The PedNSS Table 2C, Summary of Health Indicators, shows the contributor's prevalence of obesity for children 2 to 5 years of age compared to the National PedNSS. These prevalences of obesity can then be compared to the expected rate and Healthy People 2010 target of 5 percent and the U.S. population prevalences for the same age group.


Sample: PedNSS Table 2C, Summary of Health Indicators

Sample of data table comparing state with national prevalence of overweight and >= 2 years overweight

1 The prevalence of obesity for children 2 to 5 years of age in the state WIC Program is similar to the national PedNSS prevalence, 12.9% and 13.0% respectively. These prevalences of obesity are higher than the expected rate and the Healthy People 2010 target of 5 percent and the U.S. population prevalence of 10.4% for overweight children 2 to 5 years of age.


Is obesity a problem?

The prevalence of 12.9% for obesity in the state WIC program is more than twice the expected rate and the Healthy People 2010 target of 5 percent and greater than the prevalence of obesity of 10.4% for children 2 to 5 years of age in the U.S. population so it is considered a health problem.

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Page last reviewed: October 29, 2009
Page last updated: October 29, 2009
Content Source: Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

 

 



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