Poor Kids in Bad Shape
By George Anderson
A new study published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association), reinforces what we’ve heard before. Teenagers from poor households are much more likely
to be overweight than their more affluent counterparts.
The study, which looked at data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys through 2004, found that 23.3 percent of kids from poor families between the ages
of 15 and 17 were overweight compared to 14.4 percent of kids that come from homes with higher incomes.
The research found that 15 years-old appeared to be the age when weight differences became pronounced. Children from both poor and affluent households had similar percentages
of overweight children between 12 and 14.
The author of the study, Dr. Richard Miech from Johns Hopkins University, attributed the weight difference on greater degrees of autonomy granted older teenagers.
Kids from poorer households, wrote Dr. Miech, were more likely to go without breakfast, skip physical activity and obtain calories through less nutritious foods and beverages.
Moderator’s Comment: What do you believe are the causes behind the higher percentage of teenagers from poorer households being overweight? What, if any,
responsibility do food manufacturers, retailers and restaurants selling products or operating in poorer areas have to their customers in terms of providing healthful foods, nutritional
advice, etc.? – George Anderson – Moderator
- Poor teens more likely to be overweight
- Trends in the Association
of Poverty With Overweight Among US Adolescents, 1971-2004 – JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association)