Prevalence of obesity in 6- and 9-year-old children living in Central-North Italy. Analysis of determinants and indicators of risk of overweight
Albertini A, Tripodi A, Fabbri A, Mattioli M, Cavrini G, Cecchetti R, Dalle Donne E, Cortesi C, De Giorgi S, Contarini V, Andreotti L, Veronesi B, Stefanelli I, Di Martino E
The objective of our article is to survey the prevalence of overweight and obesity among 6- and 9-year-old children in Emilia-Romagna, a region of Central-North Italy, and to study the eating habits and behaviours of these children and their families.
During 2003 and 2005, we analysed a stratified sample of the general population of children attending pre-school (2681 children aged 6 years) and primary school (2955 children aged 9 years). Their height and weight were measured by healthcare workers. In the 6-year-old children, information concerning their eating habits was collected by means of a questionnaire completed by their parents.
The prevalence of overweight was 16.5% in 6-year-old children and 20.6% in 9-year-old children. The increase of overweight from 6- to 9-year-old children was observed in males (13.5% in 6-year-old/21.3% in 9-year-old boys), but not in females. The prevalence of obesity was 8.9% in children aged 6 years and 9.0% in those aged 9 years, and it was higher in comparison with Italian surveys carried out in 1993 and in 2001: 7.5% in 6-year-old and 7.8% in 9-year-old children in 1993, and 6.6% in 6-year-old and 7.2% in 9-year-old children in 2001. In pre-school children, overweight and obesity were closely influenced by the education level, occupation and nutritional status of the parents.
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