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Body mass index measurements and prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-children living in the province of Belgian Limburg

, : Body mass index measurements and prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-children living in the province of Belgian Limburg. European Journal of Pediatrics 161(6): 343-346

In order to evaluate the distribution of body mass index (BMI) and the prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-children living in the province of Belgian Limburg, BMI percentiles for 9,487 children aged 3.2 to 16.0 years were calculated and compared with the Dutch 1980 values. Although the 5th and 50th percentile BMI values were comparable to or only slightly above the reference values, the 85th and 95th percentiles were much higher revealing an increased degree of obesity in the studied population. The prevalence of overweight and obesity, determined by calculating the proportion of children with a BMI value above the 85th or 95th percentile of the Dutch 1980 reference, ranged for overweight from 15% at the age of 3-4 years to 33% at the age of 12-13 years, and for obesity from 6% to 19%. Conclusion: this study shows a dramatic increase in upper body mass index percentiles and in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children living in the province of Belgian Limburg. Strategies to prevent obesity in childhood should be a priority in child public health programmes.


PMID: 12029455

DOI: 10.1007/s00431-002-0932-x

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