Stature and adiposity among children in contrasting neighborhoods in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



It is hypothesized in this study that body size and shape vary by local area within the North American urban environment. This study tests that hypothesis by comparing stature and adiposity among children (of age 6–10 years) attending elementary schools in three neighborhoods that contrast by socioeconomic status and recent immigrant status. While the whole sample of children (n = 266) has 27.4% of children that can be classified as overweight/obese (≥85th percentile for body mass index), analysis by socioeconomic status (SES) reveals that there are approximately twice as many children in the overweight/obese category in the two low-SES schools compared to the high-SES school. Further analysis by individual school indicates that the school in the poorest neighborhood has a statistically significantly lower mean height-for-age Z score relative to the most affluent school. It is concluded that the influence of socioeconomic, demographic, and environmental factors on stature and adiposity can be investigated through studies such as this one that consider local area variation. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 17:355–367, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.