Hypothesis testing on childhood obesity Research Paper

Table of Content


In accordance with Oeffinger et al on the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2003, childhood obesity is an important predictor of many adult diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and ultimately, cardiovascular disease. Even modest weight gain from age 20 years is strongly associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Population-based studies indicate that more than 75% of hypertension and more than half of the variance in insulin sensitivity in the general population is accounted for by obesity. Research has emphasized on the importance of primary and secondary prevention of obesity as a way of reducing morbidity and mortality related to cardiovascular disease. (Oeffinger, 2003). Therefore efforts research ought to be directed towards identifying and aggressively managing populations at risk for vast developing obesity.

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Obesity is excess accumulation of body fat, which can be assessed by the body mass index (weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) (BMI).

Obesity and overweight has increased dramatically in the United States. Obesity prevalence has tripled among children, adolescents, and its survey has indicated that two thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese. The underlying causes of weight gain are less understood but eventually they are viewed to be more as a result of individual choices. Consequently, economics, as a discipline that studies how individuals use limited resources to attain alternative ends, can provide unique insight into the actions and forces that cause individuals to gain excessive weight. Other factors such as economical, social and cultural aspects are also considered to be major contributors to obesity. (Proietto & Bour, 2004) Although the effect of race/ethnicity from socioeconomic status is limited by data mining and analysis especially among adults, this study will hypothetically determine whether white female survivors of obesity are still at increased risk for obesity at adulthood, and most importantly whether sex and age is a diagnosis that modify the risk.

Null Hypothesis

Childhood obesity does not increase the likelihood of being obese as an adult in white females.

Hypothesis testing

Prevalence rates

Research indicates that in females, an increased prevalence of overweight and obese survivors in comparison with siblings are influenced by age at the time of diagnosis. Considering the complexity involved in survey of adults, research on schooling white females showed that the age and race adjusted BMI such that the increase in age was directly proportion to decrease in BMI. As Lutfiyya et al research indicated, a white female child aged between zero to four years has a BMI of 27.4 compared to age 5 to 9 BMI of 25.8, age 10 to 14 BMI 24.7 and age 15 to 21 BMI of 23.7.

This brings forth the conclusion that females diagnosed in mid to late adolescence (15 to 21 years of age) did not have an increased likelihood of being overweight or obese relative to the siblings. Although similar to females, males diagnosed at 15 to 21 years of age were not more likely to be obese or overweight in comparison with the siblings, the change in female BMI was quite phenomenon indicating that the odds of being obese significantly increased for males. (Lutfiyya et al, 2008).

In summary, these results showed that race, sex and age was associated with an increased prevalence of obesity, especially in females tested. Over the age range of 6–18 years, blacks were at greatest risk for becoming overweight. Today, they are also more likely to become overweight earlier than the whites. Within each race group, males and females have similar risks of being overweight, but after the age of 11 years, white males were at greater risk than white females.

Twenty-five percent of black females compared to only 10% of white females became overweight by age of 10 years. Similarly, 25% of black males became overweight by age 13 years, in comparison to the age of 16 years when 25% of white males became overweight. The rate for becoming overweight in the preadolescent period approximately less than 12 years of age was 28% in black females, 22% in black males, 11% in white females, and 17% in white males showing prevalence for white females who have the lowest risk of being at risk of overweight or obese. (Lutfiyya et al, 2008).

These research findings bring forth the alternative hypothesis that; ‘if one is obese as a female child, then they are 29% more likely to be obese as young adults between the ages of 24 to 29 than if they were not obese as a child.’ This proposition is still too young to ascertain the prevalence of obesity-related diseases, such as hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and cardiovascular diseases. One can anticipate, however, that without intervention, the therapy-related obesity will lead to significant health risks in this population. Thus, strategies to encourage longitudinal follow-up, periodic surveillance for cardiovascular and other obesity-related risk factors, and interventions to lower risk warrant further study. Additional studies are also needed to investigate the possible causation of obesity.

Calculation of the test statistics

Calculating from the research provided, Twenty-five percent of black females and males were already at risk of overweight or obese by the age 7 years, whereas 25% of white females and males were at risk of overweight or obese by ages 11 and 10 years, respectively. The median age when 50% of black female and male are at risk of overweight is 15 years and 14 years respectively. Less than 50% of whites are at risk of overweight before the age of 18 yr. With the rate of becoming at risk of overweight or obese before adolescence mainly below the age of 12 years being at 41% for black females, 44% for black males, 29% for white females, and 35% for white males, twenty-five percent of black females are at risk of overweight or obese by age 7 years and are overweight by age 10 yr. In contrast, 10% of white females are at risk of overweight or obese by age 7 years, and only 6% are overweight by age 10 years. (Lutfiyya et al, 2008).

Appropriate hypothesis

For a white female child, the chances of them becoming adult obese highly diminishes with age compared to opposite sex and other races.


Despite extensive research documenting race and ethnicity as a risk factor for children and adults obesity, no single data source provides information on the trends for all the major racial and ethnic groups. Various limitations, such as the use of geographically limited databases or the failure to include the entire range of school-aged children, still leave gaps in our knowledge. Furthermore collection of such personal data from adults for surveillance is a big challenge and difficult for analysts. Some studies also treat race as a single category; by not examining for differences in risk among an ethnic group, opportunities for effectively developing targeted interventions may be missed. Due to these limiting factors, further studies are encouraged to investigate possible causes of obesity especially among adults.

Work cited:

Lutfiyya, N et al. (2008, May 1). Overweight and Obese Prevalence Rates in African American and Hispanic Children: An Analysis of Data from the 2003–2004 National Survey of Children’s Health

. Journal of the American Board of Family medicine. (JABFM). Vol 21(3), Pp 191-199. Retrieved 6th August 2008 from http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/full/21/3/191

Oeffinger, K et al. (2003, April) Obesity in Adult Survivors of Childhood Acute Lymphoblast Leukemia. Journal of Clinical Oncology, Vol 21, Retrieved 6th August 2008 from http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/content/full/21/7/1359

Proietto, J. & Baur, L. (2004, March 9). Management of Obesity. Medical Journal of Australia (MJA). Vol. 180(9). Pp 474-480. Retrieved 6th August 2008 from http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/180_09_030504/pro10445_fm.html


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