Obesity in young children continues to rise

May 03, 2001

Increasing prevalence of obesity in primary school children: cohort study

One in five 9 year olds and one in three 11 year old girls are overweight, finds a study in this week's BMJ, lending further support to reports that levels of obesity in Britain are increasing in primary school children.

From 1996 to 1999, researchers in Leeds measured 694 children in 10 primary schools in Leeds. Height and weight were measured and converted to body mass index, and then cut-off points were applied to define overweight and obesity. Observed levels of overweight and obesity were then compared with expected levels, relative to British children using the 1990 UK growth standards.

The team found a significant increase in the proportion of overweight and obese children in those aged 9, 10, and 11 years, such that one in five 9 year olds and one in three 11 year old girls are overweight.

Given the links between childhood obesity and increased morbidity and mortality in adult life, these findings are disturbing, say the authors. This major public health issue needs urgently addressing in young children.
-end-
Contacts:

Mary Rudolf, Community Paediatrician, Leeds Community and Mental Health Trust, Leeds, UK Email: Mrudolf@ulth.northy.nhs.uk

Pinki Sahota, Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK Email: p.sahota@lmu.ac.uk

BMJ

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