, Volume 54, Issue 2 Supplement, pp 167-179
Date: 21 Jul 2009

Overweight in school-aged children and its relationship with demographic and lifestyle factors: results from the WHO-Collaborative Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study

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To examine overweight prevalence and its association with demographic and lifestyle factors in 11–15 year olds in the HBSC 2005–2006 survey.


Self-reports of height, weight, eating patterns, physical activity and sedentary behaviours were obtained from nationally representative samples in 41 countries (n=204,534).


Overweight prevalence was highest in USA (28.8 %) and lowest in Latvia (7.6 %). In most countries, overweight was more prevalent in boys than girls. Overweight was consistently negatively associated with breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity; OR range: 0.48–0.79 and 0.50–0.78, respectively.


Overweight prevalence in youth remained high across the countries examined. The primary factors linked to overweight were breakfast consumption and physical activity. These data should contribute to formulating preventive programs and policies.

Members of the HBSC Obesity Writing Group: Namanjeet Ahluwalia (FR) (Coordinator), Lea Maes (BE-Fl), Carine Vereecken (BE-Fl), Anne Hublet (BE-Fl), Ian Janssen (CA), John Freeman (CA), František David Krch (CZ), Pernille Due (DK), Mette Rasmussen (DK), Mogens Trab Damsgaard (DK), Bjørn Holstein (DK), Katrin Aasvee (EE), Raili Valimaa (FI), Emmanuelle Godeau (FR), Ulrike Ravens-Sieberer (DE), Veronika Ottova (DE), Anna Kokkevi (GR), Anastasios Fotiou (GR), Birgit Niclasen (GL), Agnes Nemeth (HU), Kjartan Unak (IS), Franco Cavallo (IT), Paola Dalmasso (IT), Alberto Borraccino (IT), Stefania Rossi (IT), Mariano Giacchi (IT), Giacomo Lazzeri (IT), Daniela Baldassari (IT), Colette Kelly (IE), Tom ter Bogt (NL), Torbjoern Torsheim (NO), Ole Melkevik (NO), Ellen Haug (NO), Hanna Kololo (PL), Izabela Tabak (PL), Candace Currie (GB-SCO), Jo Inchley (GB-SCO), Oya Ercan (TR), Tonja Nansel (US)
Submitted: 18 September 2008; revised 04 May 2009; accepted 04 June 2009