Prevalence and Awareness of Excess Weight in 13 and 14 Year Olds in Northern Ireland Using Recent International Guidelines

JWG Yarnell, EE McCrum, CC Patterson, P Skidmore, MD Shields, J McMahon, AE Evans

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    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Concern has been expressed in recent years over the rising trends in overweight and obesity, particularly in children in developed countries. No recent data were available for Northern Ireland; therefore measurements of height and weight were included in a study in Northern Ireland originally designed as part of an international study to estimate the prevalence of symptoms of asthma and atopy in childhood. Twenty-six schools across the province were sampled, 2484 children aged mainly 13 and 14 y completed questionnaires, and 2307 were weighed and measured. Using recently proposed international guidelines on defining overweight and obesity in children the prevalence of overweight in boys was 16%, with 4% being obese. In girls 16% were also overweight and 2% were obese. This concurs with figures for English and Scottish schoolchildren up to 12 y of age from 1994. Less than one-sixth of obese boys but more than one-third of obese girls were on weight-reducing diets (the majority self-prescribed), reflecting differing attitudes towards excess weight. Conclusion: In line with figures in younger children from England and Scotland this study shows that 16% of boys and girls from Northern Ireland are classed as overweight using recent international guidelines. Only 15% of obese boys compared with 38% of obese girls stated that they were on weight-reducing diets.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1435-1439
    JournalActa Paediatrica
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 2001


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