The association between early childhood overweight and maternal factors

Cristina S. Barroso, Angelica Roncancio, Martha B. Hinojosa, Elizabeth Reifsnider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Early childhood obesity, like other health disparities, disproportionately affects low-income populations. The purpose of this study is to determine the association between maternal sociodemographic factors and child overweight and obesity in a sample of low-income Mexican Americans. The current study is a secondary analysis of baseline data that were collected as part of a longitudinal study of 374 children aged 12-24 months receiving Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) services in a large metropolitan area in central/south Texas.Measures used in this secondary analysis were: Measured weight and height of the child and mother to calculate weight-for-stature and BMI, respectively; maternal sociodemographic variables (age, education, marital status, employment status, and nativity); maternal acculturation level; and child breastfed status. Descriptive statistics are reported as frequencies, percentages, means, and standard deviations (SD). Chi-squared Fisher exact tests assessed differences in maternal factors by child weight (healthy weight and overweight). Odds ratios (OR), 95% confidence intervals (CI), and levels of significance are reported. Of the 372 mothers, most were young (mean age 26.1 years, SD = 6.1), 47.3% had graduated high school, 33.6% were employed at the time of the study, and 72.1% were U.S. born. No significant differences were observed for the maternal factors by child weight-for-stature z-score. However, maternal BMI statistically differed by child weight. Healthy weight mothers were more likely to have healthy weight children than overweight mothers. Maternal nativity and maternal acculturation were not statistically associated with child weight in this sample of low-income Mexican Americans. The findings of the current study reinforce the importance of addressing the influence of maternal sociodemographic factors on child weight, in particular, maternal weight. A more comprehensive investigation of ecological factors' influence on obesity onset and control in young Mexican-American children is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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