Childhood overweight problem in a selected school district in Hawaii



Anthropometric measurements were collected from 1,437 public school students in a selected school district in Hawaii every year from 1992 to 1996. Results showed that boys and girls of Hawaiian ancestry (HA) are generally taller in stature and somewhat heavier in weight than their non-Hawaiian counterparts (Non-HA). Also, there are no clear differences between the two groups in BMI, sums of skinfolds, waist and hip circumferences, and waist/hip circumference ratios. When compared to data from NHANES III (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the median statures of HA boys and girls are very close to the median statures of NHANES III, but the body weights of HA are heavier at most ages. Also, the BMI values of HA are distinctly higher and their medians are closer to the 75th percentile of NHANES III. In addition, the values of the sums of skinfolds and the waist and hip circumferences of HA are also higher at most ages than NHANES III. These multiple anthropometric indicators suggest that there might be more overweight children and adolescents of HA. When compared to the statistics in NHANES III, there are twice as many HA and Non-HA boys and girls classified as obese. Clearly, a serious childhood problem exists among the children in this selected school district in Hawaii. More research is needed in other school districts in Hawaii. Also, it is suggested in this study that using multiple anthropometric indicators, rather than a single one, may be more accurate and appropriate in determining overweight problems in a youth population. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 15:164–177, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.