Our analyses of data from 624,204 public school children (kindergarten through 12th grade) who took part in the 2007–2008 New York City Fitnessgram Program show that prevalence of obesity was 20.3%, and the prevalence of overweight was 17.6%. This research was just published inline by the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Key finding from this work are that:
- Boys were more likely to be obese than girls;
- Black and Hispanic children were more likely to be obese that white children;
- US-born children were more likely to be obese than foreign born children;
- Children from low income families (as measured by receipt of free or reduced price school lunch) were more likely to be obese than children from higher income families;
- and, regardless of a child’s own place of birth and school lunch status, the likelihood a child was obese was associated with the percentage of students attending the school who were US-born and the percentage of students at the school who received free or reduced-price lunches.
We suggest that among New York City public school students, the sociodemographic characteristics of the individual child and the sociodemographic composition of the school the child attends, are independently associated with obesity.