Intersection of Place, Working Parents and Food Assistance
Implications for Preventing Child and Adolescent Obesity
Background/Purpose: The cumulative effects of the environment, educational system, and social injustices contribute to child health disparities. Collectively, these factors create barriers to national efforts aimed at reducing childhood obesity. Thus, behavioral, social, and cultural contributing factors were examined. Methods: Parents and guardians of Texas (n=714) children were interviewed by telephone using the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH). Weight status and variables of interest were analyzed using logistic regression. Results: Based on parental response, Hispanic children were more likely to be overweight/obese (p =0.002). Child recipients of food stamps had higher obesity rates (p- =0.011). Parents with less than a high school education had significantly more overweight/obese children (50% and 56% respectively, p <0.001). Children who did not have at least one parent employed were more often obese/overweight (p <0.001). Uninsured children (p =0.014), uninsured in past 12 months (p =0.032) and public insurance use (p < 0.001) were more likely to be obese/overweight. Conclusion: Ethnicity, low-income, education, unemployment and food stamp use are associated with increased risk for obesity. Intervention programs for low income families should be guided by social ecology and family system theories to facilitate changes in the home environment to support healthier lifestyles.