Prevalence of High Weight Status in Children Under 2 Years in NHANES and Statewide Electronic Health Records Data in North Carolina and South Carolina

Published:March 24, 2022DOI:



      We evaluated the prevalence of high weight status in children ages 0 to 24 months (m) using data from electronic health records (EHR) and NHANES. We also examined relationships between weight status during infancy and obesity at 24 months of age.


      EHR data from 4 institutions in North and South Carolina included patients born January 1, 2013–October 10, 2017 (N = 147,290). NHANES data included study waves from 1999 to 2018 (unweighted N = 5121). We calculated weight-for-length (WFL), weight-for-age (WFA), and body mass index (BMI), excluding implausible values, and categorized weight status (<85th, 85th to <95th, or ≥95th percentile), assessing prevalence at birth, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Utilizing individual, longitudinal EHR data, we used separate regression models to assess obesity risk at 24 months based on anthropometrics at birth, 6, 12, and 18 months, adjusting for sex, race/ethnicity, insurance, and health system.


      Prevalence of BMI ≥95th percentile in EHR data at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months were 9.7%, 15.7%, 19.6%, and 20.5%, respectively. With NHANES the prevalence was 11.6%, 15.0%, 16.0%, and 8.4%. For both, the prevalence of high weight status was higher in Hispanic children. In EHR data, high weight status at 6, 12, and 18 months was associated with obesity at 24 months, with stronger associations as BMI category increased and as age increased.


      High weight status is common in infants and young children, although lower at 24 months in NHANES than EHR data. In EHR data, high BMI at 6, 12, and 18 months was associated with increased risk of obesity at 24 months.


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