In California’s central valley, childhood obesity rates are above the national average. The majority of families living in the rural, agricultural communities of this region are immigrant of Mexican heritage, and face numerous social and environmental challenges. Demographic and anthropometric data were collected from a population of Mexican-heritage children 3–8 years (N = 609) and families (N = 466) living in two central valley communities. Overall, 45 % of children and 82 % of mothers were classified as overweight or obese. Multivariable analyses indicated that mother’s BMI and acculturation level were positively associated with child BMI z-score. Most children classified as overweight or obese (92 % and 53 %, respectively) were perceived as having ‘normal’ weight by their mothers. Childhood obesity remains a major public health issue in Mexican-heritage, central valley communities. Our model indicates that mother’s BMI is predictor of child obesity, and parents tend to underestimate their child’s weight status. These findings highlight a need for family-targeted and culturally-tailored approaches to address relevant perceptions of obesity and risk factors in these communities.
- Childhood obesity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health