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Public Health. 2010 Jul;124(7):392-7. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2010.03.017. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Prevalence of stunting, underweight, overweight and obesity in adolescents in Velsk district, north-west Russia: a cross-sectional study using both international and Russian growth references.

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International School of Public Health, Northern State Medical University, Arkhangelsk, Russia.



To study the prevalence of stunting, underweight, overweight and obesity among adolescents in a predominantly rural district in north-west Russia, and to assess the agreement between the findings obtained using international and Russian criteria.


Cross-sectional study.


Body weight and height were measured in 1066 schoolchildren aged 14-17 years, and body mass index values were calculated. The prevalences of stunting, underweight, overweight/obesity and obesity were estimated according to the World Health Organization 2007 (WHO-2007), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 (CDC-2000), Russian and International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria. Pearson's Chi-squared test and McNemar's test were used to compare categorical data. The agreement between estimates obtained using Russian and international criteria was assessed by Cohen's kappa.


The prevalence of stunting was 3.3%, 5.2% and 4.5% using the WHO-2007, CDC-2000 and Russian criteria, respectively. The prevalence of overweight/obesity was 10.3%, 8.6%, 8.6% and 9.0% as estimated using the WHO-2007, CDC-2000, Russian and IOTF criteria. The corresponding proportions for obesity were 4.7%, 2.6%, 2.3% and 2.0%, and for underweight were 3.6%, 3.1%, 2.3% and 1.8%. The Russian criteria led to lower estimates for the prevalence of overweight/obesity in boys but not in girls. The agreement between the estimates obtained using international and Russian criteria varied between 0.3 and 0.9 in boys and between 0.2 and 1.0 in girls.


The prevalence of stunting was higher in the study population than in most European countries, whereas the prevalences of underweight, overweight/obesity and obesity were lower. The choice of reference population considerably influences the prevalence estimates. Moreover, the agreement between the estimates varies by gender.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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