Overweight Among Children Younger Than 3 Years in a Low-Income Patient Population: Prevalence in 2010

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To examine the prevalence and correlates of overweight and obesity among patients aged 0 to 2 years, and to compare 3 measures of early childhood weight status, weight-for-age, weight-for-length, and body mass index-for-age.


Well-child visits in the Philadelphia Health Centers, public community health centers providing primary health care to predominantly low-income residents.

Study design.



Using the 3 measures, 13% to 16% of boys and 10% to 13% of girls seen during 2010 were classified as high in weight. No consistent associations with feeding method were identified. “Other/unknown” race was consistently associated with higher rates of overweight than the African American reference group. Hispanic girls had higher rates of high weight-for-age and weight-for-length than African American girls.


Elevated weight status emerges in a significant proportion of very young children, by all of the commonly used weight measures. There is an urgent need for appropriate clinical strategies to prevent and respond to overweight in this age group.

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