Assessing cardiometabolic health risk among U.S. children living in grandparent-headed households

Min Kyoung Song, Laura L. Hayman, Karen Lyons, Nathan F. Dieckmann, Carol M. Musil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: We evaluated children's cardiometabolic health (CMH) risk indicators and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) stratified by family structure type (grandparent-headed, two-parent headed, and single-parent headed households). Separately, we assessed whether family structure type and number of ACEs were independently associated with the CMH risk indicators. Design and methods: Utilizing data from the 2017–2018 National Survey of Children's Health, we evaluated five CMH risk indicators (obesity, physical activity, secondhand smoke exposure, sleep, and sports participation). We used multivariable logistic regressions to assess the association of CMH risk indicators with family structure type and ACEs. We controlled for sex, age, race/ethnicity, health insurance, household poverty level, and overall health status. Results: Among children aged 10–17 years (n = 24,885), we found the number of ACEs differed by family structure type (P < 0.001) and was independently associated with obesity, secondhand smoke exposure, sleep, and sports participation. Adjusting for all covariates except ACEs, family structure type was significantly associated with children's CMH risk; but after controlling for ACEs that association was attenuated - except for sleep (less adequate sleep in grandparent-headed households) and exposure to secondhand smoke (less exposure in single-parent headed households). Conclusions: ACEs were highest among children living in grandparent-headed households and independently associated with a majority of the CMH risk indicators. Findings suggest that children living in grandparent-headed households may be at elevated risk for poor CMH, potentially due to higher risk for ACEs. Practice implications: It is recommended to consider ACEs and family structure type when assessing CMH risk in children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Cardiometabolic health risk
  • Family structure type
  • Grandparent-headed households
  • National survey of children's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


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