Ethnic differences in growth and nutritional status: a study of poor schoolchildren in southern New Jersey.
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Ethnic differences in growth and nutritional status: a study of poor schoolchildren in southern New Jersey.

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  • English

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      Public Health Rep
    • Description:
      The growth and nutritional status of 2,056 schoolchildren from a poor community in southern New Jersey were assessed. Age-adjusted differences in growth among black, white, and Hispanic children were examined. Black youths were 2.5 centimeters (cm) taller (P less than .001) and 0.9 kilograms (kg) heavier than white youths (P less than .05). Black girls were 4.1 cm taller (P less than .001) and 2.8 kg heavier than white girls (P less than .01). Hispanic girls were 1 kg heavier (P less than .05) and 0.9 cm taller (not significant) than white girls. There was little difference in growth between Hispanic and white youths. Children were assessed with the use of the Centers for Disease Control's nutritional surveillance cutpoints; less than 5 percent of each ethnic group fell below the fifth percentile, according to the National Center for Health Statistics' weight-for-height standards. White and Hispanic youths were twice as likely as blacks to fall below the 5th percentile for stature or to be overweight (above the 95th percentile for weight-for-height). Compared with black girls, white and Hispanic girls were three to four times more likely to fall below the fifth percentile for stature. The prevalence of short stature was also higher among white girls (15.9 percent) compared with Hispanics (10.3 percent). There was little difference in the prevalence of overweight by ethnic group for girls. These data show that white children from poor communities have decreased growth and suggest that they may be at increased risk of nutritional problems.
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