Chronic malnutrition among overweight Hispanic children: understanding health disparities. Academic Article uri icon


  • Obesity may be masking other health problems such as height deficit, or stunting. Stunting may reflect the cumulative effect of chronic malnutrition especially in underserved immigrant communities. Exploratory analysis of a sample of children 2-19 years old from the 2007-2008 NHANES was used to assess the relationship between chronic malnutrition and overweight/obesity in Hispanic children. Overall, overweight/obesity prevalence was nearly 1 in 3 children and stunting prevalence was 3.1%. The prevalence of stunting varied significantly across race/ethnicity, with prevalence among Hispanics of 6.6%. Prevalence of stunting varied significantly by socio-economic characteristics within the Hispanic population. Our exploratory study showed differences in the prevalence of stunting across racial/ethnic groups and highlighted that overweight/obese Hispanic children have a higher prevalence of stunting compared with Non-Hispanic White overweight/obese children. More studies are needed to better understand the phenomenon and the implications for health inequities.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011