Prevalence of severe obesity among primary school children in 21 European countries

The WHO has published research on the prevalence of severe obesity among primary school children in 21 European countries. The data was collected from cross-sectional studies in 21 European WHO member states that took part in the first three COSI (Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative) rounds of data collection (2007/2008, 2009/2010, 2012/2013).

Standardised methods and instruments were used when taking measurements and children were classified as severely obese using the definitions provided by WHO and the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). This study is the first that investigates the prevalence of severe obesity in school children with a representative sample from 21 European countries.

Main findings include:

  • The prevalence of severe obesity varied greatly among countries, with higher rates of prevalence in Southern Europe of above 4%
  • Severe obesity ranged from 1.0% in Swedish and Moldovan children to 5.5% in Maltese children
  • The prevalence of obesity was generally higher among boys compared to girls
  • In countries with a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity, severe obesity also tended to be higher
  • In Bulgaria, Malta, and the Republic of Macedonia, 1 in 3 children with obesity were severely obese
  • Severe obesity was more common among children whose mother’s educational level was lower
Posted: 03/05/2019 13:21:46 by Deirdre Brennan
Filed under: Childhood obesity, Europe, Obesity, Overweight, School children


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