4453 : PREVALENCE OF OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY AMONG SCHOOLCHILDREN IN A LOW-INCOME POPULATION IN THE CITY OF CRAVINHOS, SOUTH-EASTERN BRAZIL

Author(s): 
Demarzo, Marcelo, Gadioli, Leonardo; Braga, Bruno; Goleta, Marcelo; Puga, Marcelo; Lebel, Roberto; Mendes, Eleonora; Neto, Moacyr; Bongiovanni, Renata
Text: 
Research Based
Overweight and obesity in children has significant short and long term health consequences, as cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing in child populations throughout the world over the past two decades, and has become a common nutritional concern among low-income schoolchildren, even in those countries in which deficiency diseases represent a public health problem.
OBJECTIVE: The goal of the present study was to analyse the prevalence of overweight and obesity among schoolchildren in a low-income population in Brazil.
METHODS: Body mass index (BMI) cut-off points defining overweight and obesity by Cole at al. (2000) were applied to the individual BMI values in a cross-sectional sample. Participants: 679 schoolchildren aged 6-14 years.
RESULTS: 13.1% were overweight only, and 6.8% were obese.
CONCLUSION: These results are similar to data found by Magarey at al. (2001) in Australia and follow the secular trend of increasing overweight and obesity among children throughout the world. The problem should be a major public health concern, even in developing countries. There is a clear need for new studies to uncover the determinant factors so that preventive measures can be implemented. Schools could play a key role in reversing this trend through coordinated policies linking comprehensive, sequential nutrition education programs, a school environment that models healthy food choices, and integrated and linked family and community health promotion efforts.
Topic: Health Behaviour Change