Projecting the Impact of Obesity on a Cohort of School-Aged Hispanic Children

Heide Jackson, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Over the past 30 years, the prevalence of childhood obesity has tripled in the United States. Hispanics face a significantly greater risk of becoming obese; 24% of Hispanic children aged 6-11 are obese compared to 17% of the general population. Excess obesity among Hispanics could lead to two significant changes. First, given that obesity is associated with a number of chronic conditions and an increased risk of premature death, the higher prevalence of obesity among Hispanic youth may serve to undo the historic US Hispanic health and mortality advantage. Second, a disproportionate increase in obesity prevalence among Hispanics could compromise their ability to accumulate human capital. Using a number of rich, nationally representative data sources, this paper seeks to: measure trends in Hispanic obesity, ascertain the effects of obesity on human capital development, and determine how changing the projected obesity prevalence will affect human capital.

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Presented in Poster Session 2