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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 Dec;60(12):1367-75. Epub 2006 Jun 14.

Obesity, fitness and health in Taiwanese children and adolescents.

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Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TP, UK.



To examine the prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity in Taiwan and investigate the association between excess weight and physical fitness and blood pressure.


Cross-sectional study.


A total of 13 935 children and adolescents aged 6-18 years (boys: 7031, girls: 6904) were involved in the 1999 survey and 24 586 (boys: 12 367, girls: 12 219) were available in the 2001 survey.


Weight, height, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and health-related fitness tests (bent-leg curl-ups, sit-and-reach test and step test) were measured.


The overall prevalence of obesity (including overweight) in boys was 19.8% in 1999 and 26.8% in 2001. It was lower in girls with 15.2% in 1999 and 16.5% in 2001. The normal weight group performed better (P<0.05) than the overweight/obese group in all fitness tests except in the 2001 sit-and-reach test where there were no differences between the two groups. The risk of hypertension increased nearly two times for the overweight/obese-fit group and nearly three times for the overweight/obese-unfit group compared to the normal weight-fit group (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.93, 95%CI=1.514-2.451 and AOR=2.93, 95%CI=2.493-3.454, respectively).


Overall, the findings demonstrated that there is an increasing trend in overweight/obesity prevalence for Taiwanese youth even in a 2-year period. The overweight/obese youngsters tend to have poorer muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance than the normal weight group. The overweight/obese and unfit group had a greater risk of hypertension than other groups. However, this risk was significantly lower if obese/overweight children had a higher than average level of cardiovascular fitness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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