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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - The Journal of Nutrition
Title Obesity in Latin American women and children
Author(s)
Volume 128
Issue 9
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1998
Page numbers 1464-1473
URL http://jn.nutrition.org/content/128/9/1464.short
Abstract
National surveys conducted since 1982 were used to assess maternal and child obesity in Latin American and Caribbean countries and in U.S. residents of Mexican descent. Obesity in women, a body mass index (BMI) =30 kg/m2, was 3% in Haiti, 8–10% in eight Latin American countries and 29% in Mexican Americans. Median BMI for Latin American women were near or above the 50th percentile of the general U.S. population; values exceeded the 75th percentile in the case of Mexican Americans. The prevalence of overweight (>1 SD above mean weight-for-height) in children 1–5 y of age ranged from 6% in Haiti to 24% in Peru among 13 countries. Overweight occurred in 24% of Mexican-American children. Prevalences of overweight in children and of obesity in women were greater in urban areas and in households of higher socioeconomic status. Overweight in children increased with higher maternal education; however, in some countries, obesity in women decreased with higher education. No general pattern of change over time was observed in eight countries in overweight in children. Obesity in women increased in the three countries with such data and in Mexican-American women and children. There was a tendency for greater national incomes to be associated with greater obesity levels in women and with lower levels of stunting in children. Levels of obesity in the region indicate a public health concern, particularly among women, considering that studies have identified mortality and morbidity risks associated with obesity in adults.

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