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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Nov;59(11):1259-65.

Prevalence and socio-demographic associations of undernutrition and obesity among preschool children in Cyprus.

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Research and Education Foundation of Child Health, Nicosia, Cyprus.



To estimate the prevalence of undernutrition and obesity in preschool children in Cyprus and identify possible associations.


Cross-sectional study.


Private and public nursery schools.


A representative sample (n=1412) stratified by age, gender, district and area of residence.


Weight (kg) and height (cm) were obtained and BMI (kg/m2) was calculated. Z scores for weight-for-age, height-for-age, and weight-for-height were calculated using the cutoffs from the CDC/WHO 1978 reference. Socio-demographic associations with nutritional status were examined in a logistic regression analysis.


The prevalence of undernutrition (WHO definition, Z-scores <-2) was low. Specifically the prevalence of underweight was 2.3%, wasting 2.8%, and stunting 1.1%. Undernutrition was associated with a low birth weight (LBW); odds ratio (OR) for underweight 4.1 (95% CI: 1.4, 12.2), P=0.012, stunting 5.2 (95% CI: 1.1, 23.3), P=0.033, and wasting 4.2 (95% CI: 1.3, 14.3), P=0.021. The prevalence of obesity (IOTF definition) was higher than undernutrition, and increased with age: 1.3% in 2 y olds to 10.4% in 6 y olds. Overweight and obesity prevalence were higher in rural (16.1%) than urban children (12.8%; P=0.046). Obesity in preschool children was associated with paternal obesity, OR 3.24 (95% CI: 1.59, 6.61), P=0.001, and maternal obesity 3.91 (95% CI: 1.78, 8.59), P=0.001. A birth weight (BW)> or =4000 g was associated with obesity compared to a BW between 2501 and 3000 g, OR 7.63 (95% CI: 1.91, 30.52), P=0.004.


The prevalence of undernutrition among preschool children in Cyprus was low but obesity prevalence was higher. Parental obesity and high BW were significantly associated with obesity while LBW was associated with undernutrition in preschool children.

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