Degree Name

DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)


Public Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Arsham Alamian

Committee Members

Ying Liu, Deborah Slawson


Obesity, elevated blood pressure and dyslipidemia are highly prevalent in Hispanic children. Compared to their non-Hispanic White peers, Hispanic children experience higher prevalence of obesity and hypertension. The Hispanic population in Tennessee has been growing, with about a tenth of newborn babies being Hispanic. This study aimed to: 1. Examine the influence of sociodemographic factors on Hispanic children’s cardiometabolic risk; 2. Assess the relationship between food group intake and cardiometabolic risk in Hispanic children; and 3. Evaluate the efficacy of non-traditional biomarkers for detecting cardiometabolic risk in Hispanic children. Data for the study came from a larger cross-sectional pilot study of metabolic syndrome in Hispanic children attending a community health center in Johnson City, TN. Descriptive and multiple logistic regression analyses were used. The prevalence of overweight and elevated blood pressure were 40.7% and 31.0% respectively. Children of obese mothers were more likely than children of mothers with normal body mass index to engage in less than three days of at least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity (PA) per week (OR: 6.47: 95% CI: 1.61-26.0). Children whose mothers did not engage in moderate PA were more likely to have elevated blood pressure (OR: 2.50, 95%CI: 1.02-4.53); and to engage in less than three days of at least 60 minutes of vigorous PA per week (OR: 2.92, 95% CI: 1.18-7.24), than children whose mothers engaged in moderate PA. Children generally exceeded fruit and legume intake recommendations, but did not meet vegetable, wholegrain, dairy and fiber recommendations. Higher legume (OR: 0.052, 95% CI: 0.04-0.64), dairy (OR: 0.61, 95% CI: 0.37-0.99) and fiber intake (OR: 0.88, 95% CI: 0.81-0.96) were protective against elevated blood pressure, but only fruit intake was protective against overweight (OR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.87-0.99). Leptin, C-peptide and TNF-α showed significant positive correlations with cardiometabolic risk factors. The optimal cut-offs for detecting three or more cardiometabolic risk factors were: leptin, 5.95 ng/ml, C-peptide, 0.73 ng/; and TNF-alpha, 4.28 pg/ml.

Helping mothers to achieve and maintain a healthy BMI and promoting children’s consumption of more vegetables, fruits, dairy and fiber could help reduce cardiometabolic risk in Hispanic children.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.