There is no secret that in today’s time, Americans are faced with a concerning rise in levels of obesity in which all ages, ethnicities, geographic regions, and socioeconomic groups are affected. Childhood obesity is a major health concern for the United States Government and has influenced several many programming interventions and policies. However, it seems that in some cases such as the case conducted in Trends in Early Childhood Obesity in a Large Urban School District in the Southwestern United States, 2007-2014, there was a sudden plateau in levels of obesity in kindergarten students within this diverse, metropolitan school district in the southwestern United States.
Several researchers, including Andrea Cantarero, MS, MPH, RD; Orrin Myers, Ph.D.; Thomas Scharmen, MPH; Peter Kinyau, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Yakes Jimenez, Ph.D., RD analyzed the weight, height, and demographic data from nearly 43,113 kindergartens students enrolled in a large, urban school district in the southwestern part of the United States for seven years.
This group of researchers also included each student’s ethnicity, divided into 3 subsections this is: non-Hispanic white, Hispanic, and lastly American Indian, as well as evaluated whether or not they [kindergarten students] receive free or reduced-price lunch participation, and lastly, researchers analyzed disability status.
To conduct their studies of childhood obesity, school nurses were asked to collect data on the weights and heights of all kindergarten students annually for a seven-year period in which height was measured to the closest 1/8 inch from the use of a wall-mounted stadiometer and the nearest 1/4 pound using calibrated beam balance scales for the measurement of these children’s weight.
Researchers retrieved student identification numbers to link anthropometric data to student’s information including their sex, birth date, ethnicity/race, free or reduced-price lunches, and again whether or not each particular kindergarten student has any disability status of any sort, this being anything from intellectual disabilities, learning disables to such cases of Autism, traumatic brain injury and other health impairments.
After gathering all information needed to finalize the experiment, researchers were able to provide the outcome of whether or not these kindergarten students who attend school in an urban Southwestern United States school district were following the trend of increasing levels of childhood obesity or taking steps into declining the number of cases. Studies found that 80% of kindergarten students enrolled in this particular school district from 2007 through 2014 met the inclusion criteria. From this, researchers were able to distinguish that males who were of Hispanic ethnicity, or American Indian race and were provided with free or reduced-price lunches were typically associated with obesity. Furthermore, it was seen that kindergarten students’ age, Hispanic ethnicity, American Indian race, and again provided with FRDL enrollment were significantly associated with severe obesity. Most of the included students who participated in this study were at normal weight being five years old and typically associated with Hispanic ethnicity and indeed enrolled for an FRDL lunch plan.