Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Use of Health Care Services in Low-Income, Minority Preschool Children

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The association between weight, blood pressure, and use of health care services is not well understood in low-income, preschool children. Methods. This study was a secondary data analysis of previously collected data. Body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure were collected during health screenings, and information regarding use of health care services was collected by parent report. Results. Of the 660 children screened, 22.1% of the sample was classified as obese and 15.2% were considered overweight. Obese children had significantly more doctor’s visits than both overweight and normal weight children. Systolic blood pressure (SBP) also emerged a significant predictor of number of doctor’s visits within the last year. Neither were significantly associated with emergency department visits or hospitalizations. Conclusion. This study provides evidence that lowincome, preschool children have high rates of obesity. It also provides new information regarding the association between obesity, SBP, and physician visits in this population.


Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved