Utility and applicability of the “Childhood Obesity Risk Evaluation” (CORE)-index in predicting obesity in childhood and adolescence in Greece from early life: the “National Action Plan for Public Health”
Early identification of infants being at high risk to become obese at their later childhood or adolescence can be of vital importance in any obesity prevention initiative. The aim of the present study was to examine the utility and applicability of the "Childhood Obesity Risk Evaluation (CORE)" index as a screening tool for the early prediction of obesity in childhood and adolescence. Anthropometric, socio-demographic data were collected cross-sectionally and retrospectively from a representative sample of 5946 children, and adolescents and were combined for calculating the CORE-index score. Logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the associations of the CORE-index score with obesity by gender and age group, and cut-off point analysis was also applied to identify the optimal value of the CORE-index score that differentiates obese from non-obese children. Mean CORE-index score in the total sample was 3.06 (sd 1.92) units (range 0-11 units). Each unit increase in the CORE-index score was found to be associated with a 30 % (95 % C.I. 1.24-1.36) increased likelihood for obesity in childhood or adolescence, while the optimal cut-off value of the CORE-index score that predicted obesity with the highest possible sensitivity and specificity was found to be 3.5.The present study supports the utility and applicability of the CORE-index as a screening tool for the early identification of infants that are potentially at a higher risk for becoming obese at their childhood and adolescence. This tool could be routinely used by health professionals to identify infants at high risk and provide appropriate counselling to their parents and caregivers so as to maximize the effectiveness of early obesity prevention initiatives. What is known? • Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. • Certain perinatal and socio-demographic indices that were previously identified as correlates of childhood obesity in children were combined to develop the CORE-index, a screening tool that estimates obesity risk in 9-13 year-old children. What is new? • The utility and applicability of the CORE-index as screening tool can be extended to the age range of 6-15 years. • The CORE-index is a cost-effective screening tool that can assist health professionals in initiating obesity preventive measures from early life.