Pediatric adiposity stabilized in Switzerland between 1999 and 2012
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Several countries have recently reported stabilization and/or a decrease in the prevalence of pediatric obesity. However, systematic, repeated national monitoring studies are scarce, and it is unclear whether this trend would be sustained. The objective was to present the latest overweight and obesity prevalence in Swiss children and to investigate trends in prevalence from 1999 to 2012.
Using probability-proportionate-to-size cluster sampling, nationally representative samples of children aged 6–12 years were recruited in 1999 (n = 594), 2002 (n = 2,493), 2004 (n = 328), 2007 (n = 2,218), 2009 (n = 907), and 2012 (n = 2,963). Height and weight were measured to calculate BMI (kg/m2). BMI cutoffs proposed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by the International Obesity Task Force were used to determine the prevalence of overweight (excluding obesity) and obesity. Waist circumference was measured in 2007 and 2012, and multiple skinfold thicknesses assessed in 2002 and 2012.
Using the CDC criteria, prevalences of overweight and obesity in 2012 were 11.9 % (95 % CI 10.7–13.1) and 7.1 % (95 % CI 6.2–8.0), respectively, and did not change between 1999 and 2012 (β = −0.144, p = 0.293 and β = −0.063, p = 0.552, respectively). Boys had significantly higher obesity prevalence than girls in 2007 (5.6 vs. 3.4 %) and 2012 (8.1 vs. 5.9 %). Percentage of children with excess waist circumference and body fat percentage did not differ between 2007 and 2012, and 2002 and 2012, respectively.
Our data indicate the prevalence of childhood adiposity in Switzerland stabilized between 1999 and 2012, but ≈1 in 5 children remain overweight or obese and further efforts are needed to control the epidemic.
KeywordsObesity Overweight Children Trends Body fat percentage Waist circumference
Body fat percentage
BMI standard deviation scores
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
International Obesity Task Force
We would like to thank the principals of all participating schools as well as all teachers and children for their cooperation. Furthermore, we thank Regula Schüpbach, Jasmin Zimmermann, Jasmin Tajeri Foman, and Sara Stinca for their assistance in the study. Financial support for the study was provided by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (Bern, Switzerland). The authors’ responsibilities were as follows: SBM, MBZ, and IA designed research; SBM and SS conducted research; SBM analyzed data; SBM, MBZ, and IA wrote the paper; SBM, MBZ, and IA had primary responsibility for final content. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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