Purpose: A growing concern in the United States has been the rise of anxiety and depression and its relation to excessive weight status among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic children, racial groups with higher-than-average rates of overweight status and obesity. This study explored this prevalence by analyzing individual, interpersonal, and community factors among this population. The study also sought to determine if a correlation exists between elevated weight and mental health issues in the study population.

Methods: Using data from the 2017’s National Survey of Children Health (NSCH), the prevalence of anxiety and depression was investigated among Black and Hispanic children ages 10-17 years old with a BMI greater than the 85th percentile, defined by the CDC as being overweight/obese (N=10,839).

Results: Two-way chi square tests were conducted in SPSS, determining that statistically significant correlates (p < 0.05) existed between the prevalence of overweight/obesity in children and individual, interpersonal, and community factors, with the most significant correlates being individual factors. A significant correlate was found to exist between overweight/obesity and the prevalence of anxiety and depression (p < 0.05, for both); however, when categorized by either race, no significant correlate was observed (p = 0.40, 0.26). Using a simple linear regression model, the most significant variables that correlated with overweight/obese were age, Mental Health Index, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score, and Family Received Assistance in 31 Last 12 Months. Family Received Assistance in Last 12 Months was indicated as a question on the NCSH.

Conclusion: The results of the study found the most significant correlates to be between individual factors and overweight/obesity in children. The multiple logistic regression model demonstrated that only three variables were significant predictors of overweight/obesity in children after running stepwise selection. Additional studies investigating mental health (MH) and behavioral health factors among children who are overweight or obese (o/o) is recommended.



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