Body mass index estimation in a school-entry aged cohort in Malta
Grech V, Sant'Angelo VF
This study measured body mass index (BMI) in a national cohort of school-entry children in Malta (04/2007, n=3461). By International Obesity Task Force criteria, over a quarter are overweight/obese. CDC criteria classify one-third as overweight/obese. BMIs were higher in the less affluent south of the island, especially in the Grand Harbour area. Analysis by school showed differences in boys only with lowest BMIs in private schools, followed by subsidized church schools and by free State schools. These differences are attributed to a lower level of education with regard to the consequences of obesity in the less affluent southern part of the island, along with lifestyles adopted in this area. We estimate that obesity will eventually cost Malta 70000000 euros/annum and therefore hope that this study will serve as a catalyst for further population-based BMI estimations and for an intensive effort to curtail this chronic disease.
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