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March 1992

Obesity Among Navajo Adolescents: Relationship to Dietary Intake and Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

From the Health Promotion Disease/Prevention Program (Mr Gilbert and Dr Percy) and Shiprock Service Unit Diabetes Program (Ms Percy), Shiprock (NM) Public Health Service Hospital; Navajo Area Diabetes Program, Navajo Area Indian Health Service, Shiprock (Dr Sugarman); and Kayenta (Ariz) Public Health Service Indian Health Center (Ms Benson).

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(3):289-295. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160150029015

• We evaluated anthropometric measurements, blood pressures, dietary intakes, and self-perceived body image of 352 Navajo Indian adolescents. Thirty-three percent of the girls and 25% of the boys were obese according to a body mass index criterion. Navajo youth tended to have larger skinfolds than their white (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II) and Mexican American (Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) counterparts, with the greater difference in the subscapular skinfolds indicating a greater amount of truncal rather than peripheral fat. When divided into lower, middle, and upper thirds of body mass index, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were positively related with increasing body mass index for girls, and systolic blood pressure and body mass index were related among boys. The high prevalence of obese adolescents and the apparent effect of the increased weight on blood pressure in this population indicate the need for interventions aimed at improving dietary habits and fitness levels.

(AJDC. 1992;146:289-295)

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