, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 131-144,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 01 Dec 2009

Gender and ethnic disparities contributing to overweight in California adolescents

Abstract

Purpose

To explore differences in health behaviors and factors contributing to overweight among 12 to 17 year olds in California.

Methods

Data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey for 3,315 adolescents self-identified as Latino, Asian, or white were reviewed. Adolescents reported their weight, height, gender, ethnicity, parents’ educational level, household income, physical activity, sedentary activity, breakfast consumption, and family meals.

Results

Overall 34% of boys and 22% of girls in this study were overweight (>85th percentile for age and gender). Approximately 38% of Latinos, 25% of whites, and 16% of Asians were overweight. Latinos were more than twice as likely to be overweight as whites (2.07) and Asians (2.53). Younger adolescents (12–13 years old) and adolescents whose family income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level were more likely to be overweight. Low level of parental education is a risk factor for Latino and Asian girls and white and Latino boys. White girls with a lower socioeconomic status and white boys with more than 2 h daily of television, video, and computer time were more likely to be overweight.

Conclusion

Results suggest gender and ethnic variations in factors that contribute to overweight in California adolescents. To influence the current overweight epidemic, clinicians must develop culturally sensitive and gender-specific interventions that address the unique needs of an ethnically diverse adolescent population.

Funding

Support from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, UCSF Century Club, Sigma Theta Tau International Chapter Lambda Gamma.
This publication was made possible by grant no. UL RR024131-01 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NIH Roadmap for Medical Research.