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Community Influence on Adolescent Obesity: Race/Ethnic Differences

NCJ Number
Journal of Youth and Adolescence Volume: 35 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2006 Pages: 647-657
K. A. Thulitha Wickrama; K. A. S. Wickrama; Chalandra M. Bryant
Date Published
August 2006
11 pages
This study examined both additive and multiplicative influences of community and race/ethnicity on adolescent obesity.
These analyses provide strong evidence for the unique additive influences of community poverty and race/ethnicity on adolescent obesity net of the influences of family poverty. The prevalence of obesity/being overweight is significantly higher among African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans than among Whites. The prevalence of obesity is significantly higher in poor communities than in affluent communities. The interaction between race/ethnicity and community poverty indicates that race/ethnicity moderates the influence of community poverty on the prevalence of obesity. This study extended social epidemiological research on racial disparities in the prevalence of adolescent obesity by unraveling racial/ethnic differences in the influence of community poverty. Obesity is a major public health problem in the United States with the prevalence rate of obesity among minorities higher than among Whites. The prevalence of obesity among African-American and Hispanic American adolescents has increased by more than 10 percent during the last decade. Using a sample of 20,000 adolescents, this study examined the influences of community poverty and race/ethnicity on adolescent obesity. It examined the moderating influence of race/ethnicity on the relationship between community poverty and obesity. Tables, figure, and references


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