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Can J Public Health. 2006 Sep-Oct;97(5):353-6.

Obesity rates among rural Ontario schoolchildren.

Author information

1
Health Sciences Program, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada. gallowt@unbc.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The majority of existing studies of obesity risk among Canadian children come from urban populations. The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of obesity in a sample of rural Ontario children.

METHODS:

Measures of height and weight were obtained for 504 children attending seven public elementary schools in Grey and Bruce Counties, a predominantly rural area of Southern Ontario. Body mass index (BMI, or weight/height2) scores were calculated and compared with reference data from the Centers for Disease Control.

RESULTS:

Rates of overweight and obesity were high in this sample, with 17.7% of children classified as overweight and 10.9% classified as obese. There was a significantly high prevalence of overweight for both boys (17.8%) and girls (17.5%) (Chi-square = 75.70, p < 0.001). However there was a significant gender difference in obesity prevalence: 15.0% of boys were obese, compared with 6.8% of girls (Mann-Whitney U = 29133.0, p > 0.05).

CONCLUSION:

Findings indicate that among rural children--particularly boys--risk of overweight and obesity are at least as high as in their urban Canadian counterparts. There appear to be fewer girls than boys at the extreme high end of the distribution of BMI, which may indicate differences in the growth environment of rural boys and girls.

PMID:
17120871
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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