A Study of the Relationship Between Community Factors and Childhood Obesity in the United States

Student Author(s)

Caitlin Schwark

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Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition which puts the child on a path towards serious health problems. Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for the child’s age and sex. This study seeks to answer the question of which community factors, at the state level, are correlated with the prevalence of childhood obesity. The research looks at multiple factors, such as unemployment rates, education statistics, and health care availability to determine which can be associated with childhood obesity. The data utilizes a most-different case study. States were chosen for the study based on the prevalence of childhood (ages 10-17) obesity. The eight states with the highest and lowest prevalence were chosen for the study. The research will show whether economic, education, or healthcare factors are most related to the problem of childhood obesity. The results will be able to provide insight as to where we should be focusing our efforts in order to reduce to problem of childhood obesity in our country.


This research was supported by the Earhart Foundation—Emerging Scholar Program.

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