Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Richard Jiménez


The purpose of this quantitative correlation study was to examine the association between childhood obesity (dependent variable) and cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, and epilepsy and seizure disorders (independent variables), while controlling for the child’s age, race, and sex among United States children ages 0-17, as well as the guardian’s education and income levels. There are many studies related to childhood obesity; however, few focus on the independent variables in the current study in relation to overweight children. The Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) was used to understand and interpret the research findings. Secondary analysis of data was conducted using the National Survey of Children’s Health (N = 59,963) survey data collected in 2018 and 2019. Logistic regression and both bivariate and multivariate analysis were conducted. Results indicated weak associations between childhood obesity and cerebral palsy (Chi-Square= 5.88, df= 1, p= 0.040); between a child who is overweight, has cerebral palsy, and is Hispanic (Chi-Square= 4.205, df= 1, p= 0.040); and between a child who is overweight, has epilepsy, and is Hispanic (Chi-Square= 5.24, df= 1, p= 0.022). Results further indicate there is a moderation effect of age with epilepsy or seizure disorder (Wald=2.050, p=0.033, OR=.488); sex with cerebral palsy (Wald=4.768, p=0.29, OR=.520); and sex with epilepsy or seizure disorder (Wald=832, p=0.191, OR=1.829). The potential positive social change implications of the study are to increase childhood obesity, socioeconomic factors, and disability association awareness and decrease associated morbidity and mortality.