Prevalence of overweight and obesity and associated factors in school children and adolescents in a medium-sized Brazilian city






OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of overweight and obesity in school children and adolescents in a medium-sized Brazilian city. METHODS: In total, 1,125 children and adolescents between the ages of 5.6 and 18 years from public and private schools participated in the study. The sample included 681 girls and 444 boys. Each subject’s weight and height were obtained according to Brazilian guidelines (SISVAN). The triceps (TSF), subscapular (SSF), biceps, suprailiac, femoral and calf skinfolds were measured in triplicate. Body mass index (BMI) was classified as the BMI percentile (BMIP) according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2007 criteria. The percentage body fat (%BF) was obtained using the equations by Slaughter et al., 1998. Categorical variables were analyzed using the chi-squared test. RESULTS: Overall, 364 participants with excess weight were identified: 17.3% were overweight, and 15.0% were obese. Among the girls, 18.0% were overweight, and 12.5% were obese; among the boys, 15.3% were overweight, and 18.0% were obese. These prevalence rates were higher when the time spent watching TV or participating in media-related activities surpassed 5 hrs/day, when individuals belonged to a higher economic class and when the head of the family had a higher education level (≥12 years). CONCLUSION: It is important to emphasize the need to increase our understanding of factors associated with overweight and obesity, and it is essential to implement measures and policies aimed at reversing this trend, such as stimulating healthy eating habits and physical activity and reducing time spent watching TV and participating in other media activities, including video games and social networking.

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