Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Danish preschool children over a 10-year period: a study of two birth cohorts in general practice

Authors


LM Larsen, M.D., Research Unit, Hans Christian Andersen Children’s Hospital, Odense University Hospital, Sdr. Boulevard 29, DK-5000 Odense C, Denmark.
Tel: 0045 2629 4192 |
Fax: 0045 65 91 18 62 |
Email: lonemarielarsen@hotmail.com

Abstract

Aim:  To determine change in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in preschool children, over a 10-year period and to identify possible predictors of overweight in 5-year-old children.

Methods:  Anthropometric data from birth and routine child health examinations at 3 and 5 years of age performed in general practice were collected in 5580 children from two Funen birth cohorts (1992 and 2001, respectively) representing 48% of the total population at similar age. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was classified using the International Obesity Task Force definitions.

Results:  In a Danish representative survey of preschool children, the average body mass index (BMI) and prevalence of overweight and obesity did not vary significantly during the 10-year period. No significant changes in mean birth weight were registered and mean BMI in the group of obese children did not increase. Overweight or obesity at 5 years was strongly associated with overweight and obesity at 3 years and with birth weight and gender.

Conclusion:  The prevalence of overweight and obesity was observed to be stable over a decade in Danish preschool children without changes in mean BMI in the group of obese children. A strong association between overweight and obesity at 3 and at 5 years of age was detected.

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