Journal of Public Health

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

Overweight and obesity in Portuguese children and adolescents

  • Pedro MoreiraEmail author
Original Article


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.


Obesity Overweight Determinants Children Adolescents 


Conflict of interest statement

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.


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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

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