Obesity and malnutrition among Hispanic children in the United States: double burden on health inequities. Academic Article uri icon


  • To examine important micronutrient deficiencies related to child health and growth outcomes for all weight statuses to 1) better understand other potential nutritional problems and inequities that may be masked by focusing solely on BMI percentiles and overweight/obesity, and 2) draw attention to the need for more studies focused on the nutritional well-being of children at all weight statuses, including healthy weight.A sample of children (ages 2-19 years) old from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2010 was analyzed. Prevalence of stunting, folate, vitamin D, iron, iodine, and anemia, was considered. Comparisons were conducted between non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, and within Hispanics, based on socio-demographic and economic characteristics.Hispanic children experienced significantly higher prevalence of stunting (6.1% versus 2.6%), and the prevalence of stunted Hispanic children in the healthy weight category was higher than those in the overweight/obese category. Comparable percentages were observed by ethnicity for most analyzed micronutrients, although girls had consistently higher prevalence of nutritional deficiencies than boys, especially girls reaching reproductive age.The results of this article draw attention to the need for more specific and differentiated analyses of child obesity and nutritional status among and within ethnic, sex, and age groups. Appropriate public health interventions need to consider the entire range of weight statuses and micronutrient deficiencies to eliminate inequities among minority children, especially girls.

publication date

  • October 2013