Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Children using community health centers are more likely to be overweight

06.09.2005


Children who use community health centers may be at a particularly high risk of being obese, according to a new study. This association between obesity and the type of health delivery system used was present regardless of race, ethnicity or geographic characteristics.



Researchers studied nearly 2,500 children aged two to 11, in medically underserved areas of the mid-Atlantic states, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. These medically underserved areas, mainly inner-city and rural sites, often have limited access to healthy foods and to opportunities for physical activity, noted the study leader, Nicolas Stettler, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric nutrition specialist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Those centers may offer opportune sites for health interventions: "Because community health centers are experienced in prevention and serve more than 4.7 million children in the U.S., they may be a particularly promising point of access and setting for pediatric obesity prevention," added Dr. Stettler. The study appears in the September issue of Pediatrics.


The team analyzed charts for 2,474 children using 30 community health centers in 2001. Defining overweight as a body mass index of greater than the 95th percentile of a reference population, the researchers found a higher prevalence of overweight children in 27 of the 30 centers, in comparison to children in the general population.

In the younger children, the prevalence of overweight was 22 percent compared to 10 percent in a nationally representative sample (the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). In the older children the prevalence was 24 percent, compared to 16 percent in the national sample. The researchers found no significant differences in prevalence between ethnic groups in this sample, in contrast to what is observed in the general population. In addition, there were no differences in prevalence among children using community health centers in urban or rural areas.

There were also no significant differences in obesity prevalence between boys and girls.

The higher prevalence of overweight was particularly large in younger children in this sample, said Dr. Stettler, suggesting that obesity has an earlier onset in these children compared to the rest of the country. Regional differences may explain the differences, although smaller studies have found higher prevalence of childhood overweight in the community health setting in various regions of the country.

Further studies may clarify whether the findings in this research team’s mid-Atlantic sample may apply to other regions of the United States.

"This sample was based on consultations at primary care clinics rather than being population based, which could also partially explain the high prevalence of overweight in the sample, because obese children are more likely to have chronic conditions, such as asthma, that require more frequent healthcare visits," said Dr. Stettler. "It is likely however, that the high prevalence of overweight in this study is also related to characteristics of medically underserved areas, particularly access to care."

More than 4.7 million children are patients at these centers, which are located in inner-city and rural areas and may be at increased risk for obesity, because medically underserved communities are also often areas in which access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities are limited, creating a particularly "obesogenic" environment.

"Identifying this high-risk population based on use of community health centers may be useful for directing services, training and research resources to this population," said Dr. Stettler, adding that community health centers may be well positioned to deliver long-term treatments for pediatric obesity. "Such centers often provide continuity of care to patients over time, and their financial security is less dependent on the vagaries of private insurers."

The obesity epidemic continues to increase nationwide in both the pediatric and adult populations. It is important to target methods of prevention in order to alleviate the serious side effects that are often related to overweight and obesity, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and sleep apnea.

This study was funded in part by the Health Resources and Services Administration and Office of Public Health and Science, Penn-Cheney EXPORT Center of Excellence Inner City Health and the Nutrition Center of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Stettler is supported in part by National Institutes of Health grant K23 RR16073.

Dr. Stettler’s co-investigators were: Michael R. Elliott, Ph.D., and Michael J. Kallan, M.S., both of the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Steven B. Auerbach, M.D., M.P.H., of the Health Resources and Services Administration, New York City; and Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D, M.P.H., also of Penn’s Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

Joey Marie McCool | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.chop.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>