Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Health status and health care expenditures in a nationally representative sample: how do overweight and healthy-weight children compare?

Skinner AC, Mayer ML, Flower K, Weinberger M. Health status and health care expenditures in a nationally representative sample: how do overweight and healthy-weight children compare? Pediatrics. 2008 Feb 1; 121(2):e269-77.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: Childhood overweight is epidemic in the United States. Although limited, previous studies suggest that overweight children have chronic health problems. A more complete understanding of the effect of overweight on children's health requires a nationally representative, population-based sample. Our objective was to examine whether overweight children have (1) more chronic conditions, (2) poorer health, and (3) greater health care expenditures than healthy-weight children. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study of children aged 6 to 17 years participating in 1 of 2 nationally representative surveys of civilian, noninstitutionalized Americans, the 2001-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and 2002 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The main outcome measures were prevalence of dyslipidemia, hyperglycemia, and hypertension; self-reported health status; and health care expenditures. RESULTS: Overweight children, compared with healthy-weight children, have significantly increased risk for high total cholesterol levels (15.7% vs 7.2%), high low-density lipoprotein (11.4% vs 7.7%) or borderline low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (20.2% vs 12.5%), low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (15.5% vs 3.0%), high triglyceride levels (6.7% vs 2.1%), high fasting glucose levels (2.9% vs 0.0%), high glycohemoglobin levels (3.7% vs 0.5%), and high systolic blood pressure (9.0% vs 1.6%). Overweight children, compared with healthy-weight children, demonstrate significantly lower prevalence of excellent health (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey: 36.5% vs 53.3%; Medical Expenditure Panel Survey: 42.8% vs 55.6%). These differences persist in multiple regression models that control for potential confounders. In adjusted analyses, expenditures were comparable between overweight and healthy-weight children. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate that overweight children have more chronic conditions and poorer health but have health care expenditures that are no greater than those for healthy-weight children. Addressing the health care needs of overweight children may prevent the development of chronic conditions and improve health status. These findings demonstrate the need to more thoroughly consider whether (1) overweight children have appropriate access to care, (2) physicians fully recognize the impact of overweight, and (3) physicians have resources to address overweight.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.