BMI from nutritional surveillance of 8-9 years old children in Tuscany (Italy)

G Lazzeri, A Pammolli, R Simi, V Pilato, M V Giacchi
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene 2011, 52 (4): 181-5

INTRODUCTION: The latest increase in childhood obesity focused attention on the important consequences that this phenomenon may have on public health in relationship to the increasing risk that an obese child may become an obese adult. To deal with this problem, there is necessary to assess systematically the distribution of childhood nutritional status at different levels: international, regional and local. In this paper are presented data on underweight, overweight and obesity prevalence in third grade primary school children, aged 8/9 years in Tuscany (2008) and its distribution in relationship to the demographic breadth of their place of residence.

METHODS: Data from statistic sample of 2109 (1.091 males, 1.018 females), 8/9 years school-children were collected; weight and height were measured using standardised personnel and instruments. Exact month age was calculated between the data of measurement and that of birth. Body Mass Index (BMI) classes were calculated using Cole et al.'s epidemiologic cut-off for children and adolescents. Residence areas were divided into four classes based on the number of inhabitants (< 10.000; 10.000-50.000; > 50.000; > 50.000 metropolitan).

RESULTS: The prevalence of underweight was 0.88% (0.76% in males and 1.01% in females), the prevalence of overweight was 23.43% (22.33% in males and 24.65% in females), the prevalence of obese was 7.95% (9.08% in males, 6.70% in females). The lowest prevalence of obese (6.46%) was found in towns with over 50.000 residents (metropolitan).

CONCLUSION: The obesity prevalence in Tuscany children is still lower than that of the Italian National Survey, while the overweight prevalence it's the same. Obesity prevalence (10.71%) is higher in municipalities with low residents number (< 10.000).

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