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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Dec;63(12):1440-3. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.86. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Secular changes of anthropometric measures for the past 30 years in South-West Germany.

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Institute of Epidemiology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany.


We investigated long-term changes in weight and skinfold thicknesses in German schoolchildren. In 2006, anthropometric measures were collected after a standardized protocol among 1079 children within the Ulm Research on Metabolism, Exercise and Lifestyle in children (URMEL-ICE) study. Data were compared with historical data (1975-1976). In URMEL-ICE, prevalence of overweight (IOTF criteria) was 16.5% (boys) and 17.3% (girls) and of obesity 3.5 and 3.6%, respectively. Compared with historical data the number of children above the 90th percentile(1975/76) increased statistically significantly for weight (approximately 150% both sexes), for subscapular (boys 288%, girls 206%) and triceps skinfold thickness (boys 460%, girls 413%). Statistically significant increases above the 50th percentile(1975/76) were found: weight 36 and 26%, subscapular 43 and 60% and triceps skinfold thickness 63 and 69% for boys and girls, respectively. Body fat among 6- to 9-year-old children increased dramatically within 30 years. Moreover, our data suggest substantial changes in body composition among normal-weight children towards an increased body fat mass.

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