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Factors associated with school-aged children's body mass index in Korean American families

09 Feb 2017


To examine factors associated with children's body mass index and obesity-risk behaviours in Korean American families.


Limited data are available about family factors related to overweight and obesity in Korean American children.


A cross-sectional study.


Convenient sampling was employed to recruit Korean American families in the Northeast of the United States between August 2014 and January 2015. Child, family and societal/demographic/community factors were measured with self-report questionnaires completed by mothers and children. Height and weight were measured to calculate body mass index. Data were analyzed using mixed effects models incorporating within-group correlation in siblings.


The sample included 170 Korean American children and 137 mothers. In bivariate analyses, more child screen time, number of children in the household, greater parental underestimation of child's weight and children's participation in the school lunch program were significantly associated with higher child body mass index. In multivariate analyses that included variables showing significant bivariate relationship, no variable was associated with child body mass index.


There were no child, family and societal/demographic/community factors related to child body mass index in Korean American families in the multivariate analysis, which is contrary to research in other racial/ethnic groups. In bivariate analyses, there is evidence that some factors were significantly related to child body mass index. Further research is needed to understand the unique behavioural, social and cultural features that contribute to childhood obesity in Korean American families.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Advanced Nursing