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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2003;12(1):66-72.

The prevalence of childhood obesity in primary school children in urban Khon Kaen, northeast Thailand.

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  • 1Nutrition Program, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Abstract

Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem because of its strong association with adulthood obesity and the related adverse health consequences. The published literature indicates a rising prevalence of childhood obesity in both developed and developing countries. However no data exists on the prevalence in Northeast Thailand, one of the poorest regions of the country and one that has experienced a recent economic transition. The objective of this study was to estimate the prevalence of obesity in seven to nine year old children in urban Khon Kaen, Northeast Thailand. A cross-sectional school based survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of obesity in children of urban Khon Kaen, Thailand. Multi-staged cluster sampling was used to select 12 school clusters of 72 children each between the ages of 7 and 9 years, in primary school grades 1, 2 and 3 from government, private and demonstration schools. A total of 864 seven to nine year old school children were studied. Anthropometric measurements of standing height and weight were taken for all subjects to the nearest tenth of a centimetre and tenth of a kilogram respectively, Childhood obesity was defined as a weight-for-height Z-score above 2.0 standard deviations of the National Center for Health Statistics/World Health Organisation reference population median. The prevalence of childhood obesity was 10.8% (95% CI: 7.6, 13.9). Obesity was significantly more prevalent in boys than girls. The biggest difference was observed between the three school types, with the highest prevalence of obesity found at teacher training demonstration schools and the lowest at the government schools. This study provides the first data on childhood obesity prevalence in Northeast Thailand. The prevalence of 10.8 per cent is lower than that found in two other urban areas of Thailand but slightly higher than expected for this relatively poor region. If this prevalence rate increases, as observed in other countries in economic transition, the incidence of non-communicable diseases associated with obesity is also likely to increase, thus raising cause for concern and reason for intervention to both control and prevent obesity during childhood.

PMID:
12737013
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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