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.