Abstract 6215: Childhood Obesity In Two Communities - Relation to Health Habits and Resources
Background. Middle school children residing in a community with fewer resources may have less opportunity to be physically active or consume a healthy diet which may lead to an increased risk for obesity, and poorer baseline cardiovascular health.
Methods. We compared health status of middle school students (average age 12 years) in two Michigan communities; Ann Arbor (AA) and an adjacent town, Ypsilanti (YPSI) (median household income 77,000 and 28,610, respectively). Blood pressure (BP), cholesterol, blood glucose, body mass index (BMI), and self-reported diet and physical activity habits were collected at baseline in students (n=733) from 5 AA and 2 YPSI middle schools.
Results. The percentage of children receiving free lunch was higher among the YPSI children compared to the AA children (60% vs. 26%, p =0.01). More YPSI children were in the 95th percentile for weight compared to the AA children (22.2% vs. 12.6%) and on average had a greater BMI (21.2 ± 4.8 vs. 19.9 ± 4.1, p =0.004) and LDL-cholesterol (99.9 ± 27.5 vs. 91.7 ± 26.9, p =0.005). Compared to AA children, the YPSI children were less likely to consume one or more servings of vegetables/day (67.7% vs. 80.6%, p =0.004) while no difference was observed in fruit consumption. Non-diet soft drink consumption was higher among the YPSI children compared to those from AA (45.9% vs. 30.8%, p =0.002). YPSI children were less likely to report attending a school-based physical education class in the past week (41.4% vs. 9.9%, p<0.001) or to participate on a school-based sports team (65.4% vs. 38.3%, p<0.001). The majority of children in both communities reported watching one or more hours of TV/day; however YPSI children were more likely to watch six or more hours/day compared to AA children (12.8% vs. 4.0%, p<0.001). A similar pattern was observed for video games, with 11.3% of YPSI children reporting six or more hours/day of playing video games compared to 1.9% AA children (p<0.001).
Conclusions. We observed a marked difference in diet, physical activity habits and cardiovascular parameters among children from two neighboring communities with varying resources. The local and national response to childhood obesity must focus on these community resources in order to improve childhood health.