Anthropometric measurements and dietary intakes of Cherokee Indian teenagers in North Carolina

M. Story, R. A. Tompkins, M. A. Bass, L. M. Wakefield

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Anthropometric measurements, rates of obesity, and food intake practices were investigated among 277 Cherokee Indian youths in North Carolina. Differences in food intake practices between lean and fat individuals were also assessed. Height, weight, and triceps skinfold measurements were taken, along with three dietary recalls. When Cherokee height data were compared with national survey data, no significant differences were found. In contrast, mean body weights and triceps skinfolds of Cherokees were significantly higher than national reference data. Obesity rates were found to be high; almost one-half of the Cherokee boys and one-third of the girls had skinfold thicknesses above the 85th percentile for Ten-State Nutrition Survey reference data. The effects of degree of Cherokee blood on height, weight, and triceps skinfolds were also analyzed. No significant differences existed for triceps skinfolds or weight and degree of Indian blood. However, there was a significant relationship (p < .001) between height and degree of Indian blood, with a decrease in height with an increase in Indian blood. Mean energy intakes were not significantly different between the lean and fat individuals. Similarly, no differences were found in meal or snacking patterns. It does not appear that the obesity is caused by overeating. The high incidence of obesity amoung the young and the prevalence of maturity-onset diabetes in the adult Cherokee population speaks to the need for management of obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1560
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1986


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