Assessment of obesity and abdominal obesity among portuguese children.
- Public Health Research
Background: Childhood obesity is a major public health issue in developed countries, and frequently proceeds into adulthood. The aim
of this study was to estimate the prevalence of obesity and abdominal fat distribution in 6-12 years old children from the central region
of Portugal, providing new data about trends on prevalence, epidemiology and evolution in obesity.
Methods: Weight, height and waist circumference were measured in a random representative sample of 1,433 children (747 girls and
686 boys) from public schools in 2011. International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) cut-offs were used to define overweight and obesity.
Abdominal obesity was estimated using the sex and age-specific ≥90th waist circumference percentile and waist-to-height ratio cut-off.
Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children was 33.0%; 10.7% were obese. Overweight was significantly
higher in boys than in girls (p=0.044), whereas no gender differences was found in obesity (10.6 % in boys and 10.7% in girls, p=0.571).
The prevalence of abdominal obesity based on waist circumference was similar in girls and boys (3.8% vs. 3.9% respectively; p=0.924),
but significantly higher in boys than in girls based on waist-to-height ratio (28.1% vs. 19.4%, respectively; p=0.009). Comparison with
previous studies showed a slightly increase in overweight/obesity in children of central Portugal in the last 10 years, reaching values
of 40.0% prevalence in the 7-9 years old.
Conclusion: In conclusion, this study shows a very high prevalence of overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity among Portuguese
children, following the trend