Journal of Public Health

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 155–161 | Cite as

Overweight and obesity in Portuguese children and adolescents

Original Article

Abstract

The objective of this study is to obtain reliable data from recent studies concerned with obesity and its determinants in Portuguese children and adolescents. We searched in Medline/PubMed published data on overweight and obesity in Portuguese children and adolescents; search terms included “Portugal”, “overweight”, “obesity”, “children” and “adolescents”. We also conducted limited hand-searching of additional studies from PhD theses and other academic theses that addressed overweight or obesity in children and adolescents. Studies that considered body mass index based on self-reported weight and height were excluded. We identified 15 studies that reported overweight and obesity in children and adolescents in Portugal, but 1 study was excluded because it included self-reported weight and height. The International Task Force Recommendation (IOTF) using Cole cut-offs was the most used criterion to estimate overweight and obesity, followed by the age- and sex-specific BMI reference percentiles developed by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The range of ages in these studies was between 2 and 15 years. There were some variations in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among studies and different regions. In children between 3 and 5 years of age, one study reported that overweight reached 13.6% in boys and 20.4% in girls, and obesity varied between 6.5% and 6.9%, respectively, in boys and girls. Between 6 and 10 years of age (using the IOTF definition), in boys, the prevalence of overweight varied from 14.7 to 30.5% and obesity from 5.3 to 13.2%; in girls, overweight values ranged from 16.5 to 29.1% and obesity from 6.4 to 12.6%. One study evaluated only adolescents that were born in 1990 (ages varied between 13 and 14 years) and reported both prevalences of overweight and obesity; the applied method was CDC criteria; in boys, the percentage of overweight was 16.9%, and obesity prevalence was 11.3%; in girls, overweight was 16.0% and the percentage of obese was 9.2%. The prevalence of overweight and obesity in Portuguese children and adolescents may be considered as alarming, and early intervention to prevent obesity is needed.

Keywords

Obesity Overweight Determinants Children Adolescents 

Notes

Conflict of interest statement

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Barba G, Russo P (2006) Dairy foods, dietary calcium and obesity: a short review of the evidence. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis 16:445–451PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carvalhal MM, Padez MC, Moreira P, Rosado V (2007) Overweight and obesity related to activities in Portuguese children, 7–9 years. Eur J Public Health 17:42–46PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH (2000) Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. BMJ 320:1240PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Danielzik S, Czerwinski-Mast M, Langnäse K, Dilba B, Müller MJ (2004) Parental overweight, socioeconomic status and high birth weight are the major determinants of overweight and obesity in 5–7-year-old children: baseline data of the Kiel Obesity Prevention Study (KOPS). Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 28(11):1494–1502PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ekelund U, Sardinha LB, Anderssen SA et al (2004) Associations between objectively assessed physical activity and indicators of body fatness in 9- to 10-year-old European children: a population-based study from four distinct regions in Europe (the European Youth Heart Study). Am J Clin Nutr 80:584–590PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Guerra S, Teixeira-Pinto A, Ribeiro JC et al (2006) Relationship between physical activity and obesity in children and adolescents. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 46(1):79–83PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. ILSI Europe, Overweight and Obesity in Children Task Force (2000) Overweight and obesity in european children and adolescents: Causes and consequences-prevention and treatment. ILSI Europe, BelgiumGoogle Scholar
  8. Kahn HS, Tatham Lilith M, Pamuk ER, Heath JR (1998) Are geographic regions with high income inequality associated with risk of abdominal weight gain? Soc Sci Med 47:1–6PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kuczmarski RJ, Ogden CL, Guo SS et al (2002) 2000 CDC Growth charts for the United States: methods and development. Vital Health Stat 11(246):1–190Google Scholar
  10. Lohman T (1995) Measurement of body energy stores. In: Brownell K, Fairburn C (ed) Eating disorders and obesity: a comprehensive handbook. Guilford Press, New York, pp 95–99Google Scholar
  11. Maia J, Lopes V (2002) Estudo do crescimento somático, aptidão física, actividade física e capacidade de coordenação corporal de crianças do 1° ciclo do ensino básico da Região Autónoma dos Açores [Somatic growth, physical aptitude, physical activity and coordinating capacity in children from the basic schools of Autonomous Region of Azores]. MultitemaGoogle Scholar
  12. Maia J, Lopes V (2006) Crescimento, desenvolvimento e saúde. Três anos de estudo com crianças e jovens açorianos. Tipografia GuerraGoogle Scholar
  13. Mendoza JA, Drewnowski A, Cheadle A, Christakis DA (2006) Dietary energy density is associated with selected predictors of obesity in U.S. children. J Nutr 136:1318–1322PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Ministério da Saúde (2001) Inquérito Nacional de Saúde 1998–1999, Continente, Portugal [Portuguese National Health Survey 1998–1999]Google Scholar
  15. Mira A (2006) Sobrepeso infantil e factores de risco associados em crianças do pré-escolar. Tese de dissertação de licenciatura em Ciências da Nutrição [Overweight and associated risk factors in infancy. Graduation thesis in Nutritional Sciences]Google Scholar
  16. Moreira P, Padrao P (2004) Educational and economic determinants of food intake in Portuguese adults: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health 4:58PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Moreira P, Padrão P (2006) Educational, economic and dietary determinants of obesity in Portuguese adults: A cross-sectional study. Eat Behav 7:220–228PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Moreira P, Padez C, Mourão I, Rosado V (2005) Dietary calcium and body mass index in Portuguese school children. Eur J Clin Nutr 59:861–867PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moreira P, Padez C, Mourão-Carvalhal I, Rosado V (2006) Maternal weight gain during pregnancy and overweight/obesity in Portuguese schoolchildren. Public Health Nutr 9(7A):77Google Scholar
  20. Mota J, Flores L, Flores L, Ribeiro J, Santos MP (2006) Relationship of single measures of cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity in young schoolchildren. Am J Hum Biol 18:335–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mullen MC, Shield J (2004) Childhood and adolescent overweight: The health professionals guide to identification, treatment and prevention. American Dietetic AssociationGoogle Scholar
  22. Must A (1996) Morbidity and mortality associated with elevated body weight in children and adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr 63:445S–447SPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Must A, Anderson SE (2003) Effects of obesity on morbidity in children and adolescents. Nutr Clin Care 6:4–12PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Must A, Strauss RS (1999) Risks and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 23(suppl 2):S2–S11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Padez C, Fernandes T, Mourão I, Moreira P, Rosado V (2004) Prevalence of overweight and obesity in 7–9-y old Portuguese children. Trends in body mass index from 1970 to 2002. Am J Hum Biol 16:670–678PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Padez C, Mourão I, Moreira P, Rosado V (2005) Prevalence and risk factors for overweight and obesity in Portuguese children. Acta Paediatr 94:1550–1557PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pereira S (2003) Prevalência de subnutrição, excesso de peso e obesidade em crianças do 1° ciclo do Ensino Básico do Concelho de Vila Real. Tese de dissertação de licenciatura em Ciências da Nutrição [Prevalence of undernutrition, overweight and obesity in school children from Vila Real. Graduation thesis in Nutritional Sciences]Google Scholar
  28. Ramos E, Barros H (2005) Prevalência de Hipertensão Arterial em Adolescentes de 13 Anos da Cidade do Porto. Rev Port Cardiol 24:1075–1087PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Reilly JJ, Methven E, McDowell ZC et al (2003) Health consequences of obesity. Arch Dis Child 88:748–752PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ribeiro J, Santos P, Duarte J, Mota J (2006) Association between overweight and early sexual maturation in Portuguese boys and girls. Ann Hum Biol 33:55–63PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rito A (2006) Overweight and obesity in the preschool children of Coimbra. Obesity Reviews 7(Suppl 2):366Google Scholar
  32. Rodrigues SS, Franchini B, Graca P, De Almeida MDV (2006) A new food guide for the Portuguese population: development and technical considerations. J Nutr Educ Behav 38(3):189–195PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sardinha LB, Going SB, Teixeira PJ, Lohman TG (1999) Receiver operating characteristic analysis of body mass index, triceps skinfold thickness, and arm girth for obesity screening in children and adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr 70:1090–1095PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Seidell JC (1998) Epidemiology: definition and classification of obesity. In: Kopelman PG, Stock MJ (edn) Clinical obesity. Blackwell Science, Cambridge, pp 1–17Google Scholar
  35. Slaughter MH, Lohman TG, Boileau RA et al (1988) Skinfold equations for estimation of body fatness in children and youth. Hum Biol 60:709–723PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Sothern MS, Gordon ST (2003) Prevention of obesity in young children: a critical challenge for medical professionals. Clin Pediatr 42:101–111Google Scholar
  37. Sousa MAC, Maia J (2005) Crescimento somático, actividade física e aptidão física associada à saúde: Um estudo populacional nas crianças do 1° ciclo do ensino básico do concelho de Amarante [Somatic growth, physical activity associated to health: a population study in children from the basic schools of Amarante]. Saúde, Sá-Artes GráficasGoogle Scholar
  38. Sousa B, Oliveira B, Almeida MDV (2006) Assessment of nutritional status in 6- to 10-years-old children of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, Portugal. Public Health Nutr 9(7A):109Google Scholar
  39. von Kries R, Toschke AM, Koletzko B, Slikker W (2002) Maternal smoking during pregnancy and childhood obesity. Am J Epidemiol 156:954–961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Williams CL (2001) Can childhood obesity be prevented? In: Bendich A, Deckelbaum RJ (edn) Primary and secondary preventive nutrition. Humana Press, New Jersey, pp 185–203Google Scholar
  41. Williams DP, Going SB, Lohman TG et al (1992) Body fatness and risk for elevated blood pressure, total cholesterol, and serum lipoprotein ratios in children and adolescents. Am J Public Health 82:358–363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. World Health Organization (2003) Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation, WHO Technical Report Series, 916. WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  43. Zametkin AJ, Zoon CK, Klein HW, Munson S (2004) Psychiatric aspects of child and adolescent obesity: a review of the past 10 years. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 43:134–150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Nutrition and Food SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Research Centre in Physical Activity Health and Leisure, University of PortoPortoPortugal

Personalised recommendations