The Epidemiology of Childhood Obesity in Canada, Mexico and the United States

  • Cynthia L. OgdenEmail author
  • Sarah Connor Gorber
  • Juan A. Rivera Dommarco
  • Margaret Carroll
  • Margot Shields
  • Katherine Flegal
Part of the Springer Series on Epidemiology and Public Health book series (SSEH, volume 2)


Published reports based on different definitions indicate that in Canada, Mexico and the United States childhood overweight and obesity have increased dramatically since 1980, with the US leading the way. The prevalence of overweight, using the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) definitions (Cole et al. 2000) in 7–13 year old girls doubled in Canada between 1981 and 1996 and tripled in boys (Tremblay et al. 2002). In 2004 in Canada, 26% of children and adolescents aged 2–17 were overweight or obese and 8% were obese (Shields 2006). Among children under 5 years of age in Mexico, overweight prevalence (z-score of weight-for-height above +2 of World Health Organization/National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (WHO/NCHS/CDC) references (Dibley et al. 1987)) increased from 4.2 to 5.3% between 1988 and 1999 (Rivera et al. 2002). In the US, between 1980 and 2006 the prevalence of high body mass index (BMI ≥95th percentile of the sex specific 2000 CDC growth charts) increased from 6 to 16% among children and teens 2 through 19 years of age (Ogden et al. 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008).


High Body Mass Index High School Education Screen Time Canadian Community Health Survey International Obesity Task Force 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Claudia Ivonne Ramirez Silva and Eric Monterubio Flores for their programming assistance with the Mexican data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia L. Ogden
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sarah Connor Gorber
    • 2
  • Juan A. Rivera Dommarco
    • 3
  • Margaret Carroll
    • 4
  • Margot Shields
    • 5
    • 6
  • Katherine Flegal
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys at National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EpidemiologisCDC/NCHSHyattsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Scientific Research ManagerPublic Health Agency of Canada/Agence de la santé publique du CanadaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Centro de Investigacion en Nutricion Y SaludInstituto Nacional de Salud PublicaCuernavacaMexico
  4. 4.National Center for Health StatisticsCenters for Disease Control and PreventionHyattsvilleUSA
  5. 5.Senior Analyst/Analyste PrincipaleHealth Analysis/Analyse de la santéOttawaCanada
  6. 6.Senior Analyst/Analyste PrincipaleHealth Analysis/Analyse de la santéOttawaCanada
  7. 7.Senior Research Scientist/Distinguished Consultant, National Center for Health StatisticsCenters for Disease Control and PreventionHyattsvilleUSA

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