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Growth and weight status of rural Texas school youth



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum to Growth and weight status of rural texas school youth Volume 25, Issue 3, 443, Article first published online: 6 April 2013



Evidence indicates higher prevalence of obesity in rural American youth. The present study evaluates the growth status and estimates the prevalence of overweight and obesity among rural school children in Texas.


Heights and weights were measured in a sample of 1,084 school youth (545 males, 539 females) 5–19 years of age, in rural north central Texas in 2010. body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Growth status was plotted relative to US reference data. Weight status (underweight/thin, overweight, and obesity) was classified relative to age- and sex-specific Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria. Concordance of classifications was evaluated.


Mean heights of the rural children approximated reference medians, while median weights exceeded reference medians and approximated 75th percentiles with increasing age. Median BMIs of boys and girls were below the 75th percentiles except among late adolescent girls. Prevalence of underweight/thinness was low (<4%). Overweight approximated 20% among boys 6–11 years and 16% among boys 12–19 years with CDC criteria; the opposite was apparent for obesity, 6–11 years, 16%, and 12–19 years, 20%. Approximately, equal percentages of boys in both age groups were classified overweight (∼21–22%) with IOTF criteria, but almost twice as many older (15%) than younger (8%) boys were classified obese. Overweight was less prevalent (∼5%) but obesity more prevalent (∼5%) with CDC compared to IOTF criteria, but both were less prevalent among younger than older girls.


Prevalence of overweight and obesity among rural Texas school youth was comparable to national estimates for 2007–2008. The results highlight a need for programs aimed at preventing unhealthy weight gain and/or weight reduction given the tendency of obesity to track from childhood into adulthood and potentially negative health consequences of obesity. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.