Descriptive epidemiology of childhood overweight and obesity in Australia: 1901–2003
Norton K, Dollman J, Martin M, Harten N
Aims. The overweight and obesity epidemic among children in Australia has attracted considerable attention as intervention strategies and public policy are debated. However, more information on the overweight prevalence trend is required to help understand its aetiology. In order to assist this public health crisis, we gathered every available raw dataset and other descriptive reports on the heights and weights of children over the last century. Methods. The raw datasets and datasets recreated using reported descriptive data were used to calculate the prevalence rates of overweight children aged 5 to 15 years. Results. Overweight prevalence among children was relatively low and relatively constant throughout most of the century but appears to have accelerated from about the early 1970s. Discussion. The prevalence rate for overweight and obesity among children in Australia continues to climb and we predict it will approach adult rates within the next 30 years.
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