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Presentation: 4:47

Poster attached as supplemental file below


Background: In the United States and globally, childhood obesity is characterized as one of the most significant public health problems we face today. Approximately 20% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese in the United States. A similar trend can be observed in Philadelphia, where 21.9% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Overweight or obesity among children is a significant issue as it can cause adverse health effects later in life. Some studies show an association between center-based care and risk of overweight/obesity in children aged 5 years and under. This study aims to determine whether the neighborhood availability of quality early education programs is associated with the likelihood of childhood overweight or obesity among Philadelphia children.

Methods: This was an exploratory and cross-sectional study. The researcher used data from the 2018-2019 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Survey (SEPA HHS), OpenDataPA, and the U.S. Decennial Census (2010). Children aged 6-17 were and residing in Philadelphia were included. Children aged 5 and under were excluded.

Results: A total of 302 children were included in the final analysis. 38.8% of children were overweight/obese. No association between neighborhood availability of quality early care and learning centers and childhood overweight/obesity. Non-Hispanic Black children had higher odds of being overweight or obese compared to non-Hispanic White children. Children who resided in households in which the adult respondents reported having less than a high school education or reported having a high school education had higher odds of a child being overweight/obese compared to those who reported a post-graduate education.

Conclusion: This exploratory study opens the discussion surrounding the role the early care and learning centers may have in predicting or influencing overweight or obesity in children.