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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Researchers Study the Association of Income and Race with Obesogenic Behaviors of U.S. Children and Adolescents

Researchers from the exercise science, health promotion, education, and behavior, and epidemiology and biostatistics departments at the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health have published a study the Journal of Community Health. The paper, which was written by PhD in exercise science doctoral student, Mr. Ethan Hunt, discusses the connection between income and race with obesity-causing behavior in U.S. children and adolescents.

Participants included more than 3,500 children and adolescents (37 percent Hispanic, 27 percent White, 35 percent Black. Mr. Hunt and the research team found that Hispanic children/adolescents had significantly higher levels of adiposity than White children/adolescents. Medium-income children and adolescents engaged in less MVPA, had poorer diet quality, and used screens less than children and adolescents from low-income households. High-income children and adolescents also engaged in less MVPA and used screens less than children and adolescents from low-income households.

However, they found significant race/ethnicity-by-income interactions for high-income Hispanic children and adolescents with diet quality and screen time. There was also a significant race/ethnicity-by-income interaction for the screen-time of Black children and adolescents from medium and high income households.

The researchers concluded that there appears to be a complex relationship that varies by race/ethnicity between income, obesogenic behaviors, and adiposity levels among children and adolescents. More work is needed to identify the behavioral mechanisms that are driving disparate rates of overweight and obesity among minority children and those from low-income households.

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