A study examining the body mass index (BMI) of over 14,000 children from birth to age 15 shows those in the Midwest have the highest BMI levels while kids in the West have the lowest, suggesting regional influences may play a role in the development of childhood obesity.
The study, published in the journal Obesity, also showed a higher birth weight and lower levels of formal education among mothers was associated with higher BMI in children. Black and Hispanic children had a higher BMI than non-Hispanic white children in some, but not all, parts of the country.
“We know that home and school environments are important drivers of children’s nutritional status,” said the study’s lead author Traci Bekelman, PhD, MPH, a research assistant professor in the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz. “But we don’t know as much about regional influences.”