The purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship between the development of obesity in children ages five to ten years, and poverty (the socio-economic status of the family). Because of the associated complications of obesity such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and hypertension, this research aimed to determine if obesity, a precursor of these diseases, was related to poverty.
The rate of the development of hypertension and diabetes in children and young adults has been steadily increasing over the past ten years (Hines, Fishman, Green, 1999). Therefore, there is an urgent need for continued investigation exploring the multiple variables associated with the development of this major health hazard. The goal of this research was to examine the following objectives: Investigate the relationship between poverty and obesity in children age 5 to 10 years, determine the genetic risk for subjects meeting the criteria for obesity, and communicate findings of this research via referred publications and presentations.
The methods used in this research involved collection of secondary and primary data. Secondary data collection involved retrieving information on subjects assigned to the free lunch program, based on household income. Primary data collection included weight, height and Body Mass Index (BMI) of the subjects. Height, weight and BMI were recorded and compared with normal values for age and height, thus determining obesity status. The results of obesity status were correlated with household income.
Thirty three subjects (N=33) were studied. The results of the study showed no significant relationship between obesity and poverty. However, the incidence of obesity in the sample according to body mass index was a finding that warrants further investigation. The results showed a higher level of obesity among the subjects who were not from households meeting the definition of poverty.
Fennal, Mildred D., "Obesity and the Development of Complications Across the Life Span: Is There a Relationship between Obesity and Poverty" (2003). University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Discussion Paper Series. 76.