A study to examine the effect of social determinants of health on the obesity rate among Texas children
Vasquez, Liset Leal
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Obesity is an epidemic and considered an urgent health threat across the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2012a; Dietz, 1998; Wang & Dietz, 2002). The obesity prevalence has more than tripled since 1980 among children and adolescents, placing them a greater risk for chronic illness (CDC, 2012a). The goal of the current study was to test the association between household incomes, safe neighborhoods, health care coverage/utilization, and parental education level to childhood obesity in Texas. The study was ex-post facto using a secondary dataset from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). The national representative data was collected by telephone interview of parents/guardians of 91,642 children ages 3-17 living in households across the United States. The data analysis included structural equation modeling with mediation and logistic regression. The study sample included 714 participants. One of the important demographic features of the sample was the large number of Hispanics (44.5%), followed closely by Caucasian (38.4%), African-American (11.2%), and multi/other or non-Hispanics (5.5%). Study findings provided valuable insights on the continued needs that low-income children face, such as lack of parent employment, receiving state assistance and poorer health.