Prevalence and lifestyle determinants of central obesity in children Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Central obesity is a strong risk factor for metabolic disorders and cardiometabolic diseases in children and adolescents. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prevalence of central obesity and to determine its cross-sectional association with lifestyle habits in a sample of school-aged children in Greece.The study sample consisted of 124,113 children (9.9 ± 1.1 years old, 51 % boys) attending the third and fifth grade of primary school. Anthropometric measurements were performed by trained physical education teachers, and central obesity was defined as waist-to-height ratio ≥0.5. Children's lifestyle habits were assessed through 7-day recall questionnaires.Of the participating children, 33.4 % were classified as centrally obese. Central obesity was significantly more prevalent in boys than in girls (36.0 vs. 30.7 %, P < 0.001) and was present in 95 % of obese children, as well as in a significant percentage of overweight (69.5 %) and normal-weight ones (12.0 %). Children with central obesity, compared to their non-centrally obese counterparts, reported poorer dietary habits and were less physically active. According to multiple logistic regression analysis, frequent breakfast (OR 0.72, 95 % CI 0.69-0.75) and snack consumption (OR 0.70, 95 % CI 0.67-0.74), as well as frequent participation in sedentary activities (OR 1.10, 95 % CI 1.07-1.14), were the strongest lifestyle determinants of central obesity.Strategies for the prevention of central obesity and associated comorbidities are urgently needed, for both obese and non-obese children. Our results suggest the need for a shift towards a healthier environment for our children, with emphasis on specific lifestyle habits, such as regular meal consumption and low sedentariness.

authors

publication date

  • August 2016