Dissertation Title

A NHANES 2005-2006 Data Analysis Examining Early Childhood Factors, Food Security, Medical Insurance, and Childhood Obesity

Year Degree was Conferred

2012

Year PARDA Awarded

2012

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Jones, Chester

Abstract

The purpose of this study, and primary research question, was to examine the relationships among early childhood factors, food security, and family medical insurance and childhood obesity. There are many factors associated with the overweight and obesity epidemic. Hence, creating solutions must be addressed on various platforms such as early childhood influences, food security/insecurity, and family availability of health insurance. Relevant and aggregate data on factors affecting childhood obesity could potentially lead to age appropriate interventions to prevent childhood obesity and its sequelae. The literature noted the social cognitive theory in addressing the relationship between parents, the environment, and childhood obesity. NHANES survey data 2005-2006 were used to acquire the data on all the variables in the study. The NHANES 2005-2006 survey design represented the health and nutritional status of the U. S. population from January 2006 to December 2006. It followed a complex stratified multistage probability design that produced statistically reliable estimates for means and proportions covering a wide range of health and nutritional variables by age, gender, race, and ethnicity. The independent variables of early childhood factors, food security, and medical insurance, and the dependent variable body mass index (BMI), for all children aged 3-17 years were extracted from the database. Multiple regression analysis was used as the analysis strategy. Results indicated that age at screening for childhood obesity and BMI were statistically significant and positive predictors of obesity. The implication for positive social change includes early initiation of interventions in the prevention of childhood obesity and its sequelae.