Assessment of obesity and abdominal obesity among portuguese children

David Albuquerque*, Clévio Nóbrega, Hanen Samouda, Licínio Manco

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Childhood obesity is a major public health issue in developed countries, and frequently proceeds into adulthood. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of obesity and abdominal fat distribution in 6-12 years old children from the central region of Portugal, providing new data about trends on prevalence, epidemiology and evolution in obesity. Methods: Weight, height and waist circumference were measured in a random representative sample of 1,433 children (747 girls and 686 boys) from public schools in 2011. International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) cut-offs were used to define overweight and obesity. Abdominal obesity was estimated using the sex and age-specific ≥ 90th waist circumference percentile and waist-to-height ratio cut-off. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children was 33.0%; 10.7% were obese. Overweight was significantly higher in boys than in girls (p = 0.044), whereas no gender differences was found in obesity (10.6 % in boys and 10.7% in girls, p = 0.571). The prevalence of abdominal obesity based on waist circumference was similar in girls and boys (3.8% vs. 3.9% respectively; p = 0.924), but significantly higher in boys than in girls based on waist-to-height ratio (28.1% vs. 19.4%, respectively; p = 0.009). Comparison with previous studies showed a slightly increase in overweight/obesity in children of central Portugal in the last 10 years, reaching values of 40.0% prevalence in the 7-9 years old. Conclusion: In conclusion, this study shows a very high prevalence of overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity among Portuguese children, following the trend of other southern European countries. Thus, it is of the utmost importance the development of preventive and treatment strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-173
    Number of pages5
    JournalActa Medica Portuguesa
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May 2012


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