Overweight and obesity trends in Copenhagen schoolchildren from 2002 to 2007


Dr. Seija Pearson, Copenhagen Community Health Service, Frederikssundsvejen 77, 2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark. Tel: +45-3832-5030 | Fax: +45-3819-1934 | Email: seija.pearson@buf.kk.dk


Aim:  The purpose of this study is to monitor the prevalence trend in overweight and obesity among Copenhagen schoolchildren from the school years 2002 to 2007.

Methods:  Copenhagen community health service doctors conducted routine examinations at school entry (ages 5–8 years) and exit (ages 14–16 years). Body mass index (kg/m2) of 33 245 schoolchildren was calculated. The prevalence of overweight (including obesity) and obesity was classified using the International Obesity Task Force definitions.

Results:  From 2002 to 2007, although the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) in young girls decreased from 17.8 to 15.9%, the trend was non-significant. In young boys, the trend slightly decreased, and the prevalence fell from 14.0 to 11.6%. In adolescent girls, the prevalence varied considerably and increased from 22.7 to 25.4% without a discernable trend. In adolescent boys, the trend slightly increased, and the prevalence rose from 15.8 to 18.9%. There were no significant changes in the prevalence of obesity.

Conclusion:  In contrast to the preceding decades, we identified a potential stagnation in the obesity epidemic among children but a continuing increase among adolescents. It remains critical to continue monitoring and to increase preventive measures to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity.