Obesity in a Southwest Native American tribe: Examination of prevalence, predictive factors, and health risks
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis research examined obesity in a Southwest Native American Tribe by utilizing data obtained from Indian Health Service regarding individuals who used their health clinics. Sixteen cohorts, ranging in age from 3 to 75 years, were studied across the four years of 1971, 1976, 1981, and 1986. This was an exploratory study designed to investigate four areas related to obesity in this Tribe: (1) Weight and height norms, (2) prevalence of obesity, (3) factors predictive of adolescent obesity, and (4) health risks associated with obesity. The results indicate that this population of Southwest Native Americans generally weigh more and are shorter than national norms, which results in significantly greater BMIs. Norms for weight, height, and Body Mass Index (BMI) were established for all categories during each of the data gathering years of 1971, 1976, 1981, and 1986. Prevalence of obesity based on weight and BMI was established for this time period, also. Predictive factors of adolescent obesity in this Tribe revealed several of children's prior weight variables to be significantly related to adolescent obesity. Whereas, variables related to the children's mothers tended to be nonsignificant. The results indicated two health problems are related to adult obesity in this population: diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. In addition, blood pressure was also related to obesity in that those who were obese tended to have higher systolic and diastolic blood pressures than the nonobese. Several childhood characteristics are seen as indicators that children may need preventive measures in order to reduce the chance of later obesity. Future research is discussed in terms of prospective studies which might provide more information about obesity in this Tribe.