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Overweight and obesity in Norwegian children: prevalence and socio-demographic risk factors

Authors

  • Pétur B Júlíusson,

    1.  Department of Clinical Medicine, Section of Paediatrics, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
    2.  Department of Paediatrics, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
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  • Geir Egil Eide,

    1.  Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
    2.  Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, Research Group for Lifestyle Epidemiology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
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  • Mathieu Roelants,

    1.  Laboratory of Anthropogenetics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
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  • Per Erik Waaler,

    1.  Department of Clinical Medicine, Section of Paediatrics, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
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  • Roland Hauspie,

    1.  Laboratory of Anthropogenetics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
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  • Robert Bjerknes

    1.  Department of Clinical Medicine, Section of Paediatrics, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
    2.  Department of Paediatrics, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
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Pétur B Júlíusson, M.D., Department of Clinical Medicine, Section of Paediatrics, University of Bergen, N-5021 Bergen, Norway. Tel: +47 55 97 44 23 | Fax: +47 55 97 52 47 |
Email: petur.juliusson@med.uib.no

Abstract

Aim:  The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity and to identify socio-demographic risk factors in Norwegian children.

Methods:  The body mass index of 6386 children aged 2–19 years was compared with the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) cut-off values to estimate the prevalence of overweight including obesity (OWOB) and obesity (OB). The effect of socio-demographic factors on this prevalence was analysed using multiple ordinal logistic regression analysis in a subsample of 3793 children.

Results:  The overall prevalence of OWOB was 13.8% (13.2% in boys and 14.5% in girls, p = 0.146), but the prevalence was higher in primary school children aged 6–11 years (17%, p < 0.001). The risk of being OWOB or OB increased in children with fever siblings (p = 0.003) and with lower parental educational level (p = 0.001). There was no association with parental employment status, single-parent families or origin.

Conclusion:  The prevalence of OWOB and OB in Norwegian primary school children is of concern. Socio-demographic factors have pronounced effects on the current prevalence of overweight and obesity in a cohort of Norwegian children. This knowledge could help to work out strategies to reduce the burden of overweight and obesity in children.

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