Trends in overweight and obesity among 5–7-year-old White and South Asian children born between 1991 and 1999

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the trends in overweight and obesity among White and South Asian children aged 5–7 years born between 1991 and 1999 and included in the East Berkshire Child Health System.

Methods

Children were grouped into nine cohorts based on their year of birth. The UK National BMI percentile classification was used to classify the children as overweight and obese and to examine the prevalence and trends by year of birth, sex and ethnicity.

Results

Overall, more boys (10.1%; 9.7–10.6%) than girls (9.1%; 8.7–9.6%) were obese (P < 0.003). South Asian boys were more likely to be overweight (OR 1.92; 95% CI 1.62–2.28; P < 0.01) and obese (OR 1.53; 95% CI 1.28–1.89; P < 0.01) than South Asian girls. Overweight (1.77; 1.56–2.00; P < 0.05) and obesity (1.76; 1.50–2.06; P < 0.05) were significantly higher among South Asian boys compared with their White counterparts (baseline). After adjusting for sex, ethnicity and year of birth, South Asian children were 27% more overweight (P < 0.01) and 45% more obese (P < 0.01) compared with White children, and boys were 6% more overweight (P=0.04) and 12% more obese (P=0.003) compared with girls. There was an increasing trend in overweight among boys (P=0.01) and girls (P=0.003); and in obesity among boys (P < 0.001) and girls (P=0.008) in children born from 1991 to 1999.

Conclusion

There is a significant rise in childhood obesity among 5–7-year-old children. Overweight and obesity among South Asian boys are significantly higher than that among South Asian girls. This group may be at greater risk of morbidity and mortality related to obesity and may need to be targeted appropriately for interventions to reduce obesity.

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