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Ann Hum Biol. 2009 Mar-Apr;36(2):139-45. doi: 10.1080/03014460802635213.

Official Japanese reports significantly underestimate prevalence of overweight in school children: Inappropriate definition of standard weight and calculation of excess weight.

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1
Department of Paediatrics, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The obesity epidemic in Japan continues to increase. However, the prevalence and trends of obesity have not explicitly been determined in Japanese children.

AIM:

The study estimated the trend and prevalence of overweight in Japanese school children, 1980-2001.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

The 2001 cross-sectional national survey on 334,939 boys and 335,204 girls, 5-18 years of age was studied, using the 1978-1981 references. Main outcome measures were proportion of children with BMI > or =95th centile and those with > or = + 20% excess body weight.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of overweight increased 2.6 times (5.0% to 12.9%) in Japanese boys and 2.5 times (5.0% to 12.5%) in Japanese girls during the last two decades as assessed by using BMI, whereas the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science and Technology reported a much smaller increment in prevalence (5.8% to 9.2% in boys, 5.6% to 8.0% in girls, respectively) using the same data but based on a cut-off value of > or = + 20% excess body weight.

CONCLUSION:

Official governmental reports significantly underestimate the current epidemic of obesity in Japan.

PMID:
19194805
DOI:
10.1080/03014460802635213
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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