Background

The past 3 decades have seen an explosion in the prevalence of obesity in youth. The location of pediatric weight gain during the calendar year has potential public policy implications. Evidence suggests that BMI increases faster during summer months. Given the notable diversity of our multicultural metropolitan area, the same patterns might not hold.

Methods

140,906 patients seen in an urban tertiary care hospital or associated facilities from Spring 2012 to Fall 2018 between the ages of 5-18 years were used for analysis. General demographic data on study population was analyzed using descriptive statistics. One-way ANOVA was utilized to assess the relationship between body mass index (BMI), obesity rate and weight changes during the school year. A demographic analysis of zip codes in South Florida with obesity rates was stratified by school age, race, and ethnicity.

Results

The overall obesity rate for this sample is 25.99%. 54.90% of those obese children are between 5-10.9 years of age. No change in pattern of weight gain was found during different times of the year. Obesity is more prevalent in white race (79.09%), with higher rates in Hispanic ethnicity (73.76%). The zip codes with the highest obesity rates were found to have a low median income and a high proportion of Hispanics. Overall BMI is identical for patients visiting regardless of the season. Semester time trend reveals BMI did not change by more than 1.68% and no statistically significant change present in positive or negative direction during any term.

Conclusions

Our data reveals high obesity rates across Miami-Dade county and did not reveal an association between weight gain and time of the year. This static weight change suggests that public health initiatives should target health quality both inside and outside of the school environment. This is especially true in the zip codes with the highest obesity prevalence, which are areas that are more racially and ethnically diverse than the lower obesity zip codes.