California Wellness Study

American Indians and Obesity

  • Felicia Schanche Hodge University of California Los Angeles, School of Nursing and Public Health
  • Suzanne T. Kotkin-Jaszi Fresno State University, Department of Public Health


This paper identifies the prevalence and predictors of obesity among California’s American Indian adults. A cross-sectional study was conducted at 13 rural sites. Indian healthcare clinics served as the sampling frame and were selected because of their proximity and access to the target population. Four-hundred and fifty adult American Indians participated; 74 percent were female and 26 percent were male. The average age was 40, ranging from 18-74. Measures included socio-demographics, general health, BMI, type 2 diabetes, exercise and dietary habits. Eighty-two percent were overweight, obese or morbidly obese. Chisquare tests revealed three variables significantly associated with BMI categories: having type 2 diabetes, female gender and poor general health status. A logistic regression model for obese/morbidly obese (BMI > 30) versus overweight/normal (BMI < 30) persons found gender and diabetes status as significant predictors, while general health status showed trend. Females had 1.59 greater odds of being obese than males (p=0.04). Those that do not have diabetes are less likely to be obese (p=0.02). Those that do not have good general health were 2.5 times more likely to be obese than those that have good general health (p=0.06). Overall goodness of fit was significant (p=0.0009). It is important to identify individuals and population who are normal/overweight, obese/morbidly obese so support and interventions can be planned and implemented.
How to Cite
Schanche Hodge, F., & Kotkin-Jaszi, S. T. (2009). California Wellness Study: American Indians and Obesity. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 7(SI), 118-124.