Obesity Prevalence and Incidence Through Elementary School in the United States

Shakia Hardy , Emory University
Carmen Ng, Emory University
Michael R. Kramer, Emory University
Solveig Cunningham, Emory University

While the prevalence of obesity has been well-described, little is known about the incidence of obesity among contemporary elementary school aged children. The nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010 – 2011 (ECLS-K: 2011, analytic sample = 7019) included measured anthropometric data at eight time points between kindergarten and fourth grade. Using ECLS-K:2011 data, we examined the prevalence of obesity at each wave and the cumulative incidence of obesity by the end of fourth grade. Sex, race/ethnic, socioeconomic, and birth weight differences in obesity prevalence were observed at baseline and grew over time. Cumulative incidence of obesity was highest among boys, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic children, and children in households of lower socioeconomic status. The cumulative incidence of obesity by the end of fourth grade was 5.9 times higher among those who were overweight at kindergarten entry compared to those who were of normal BMI.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1