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Nutr Hosp. 2012 Jan-Feb;27(1):154-60. doi: 10.1590/S0212-16112012000100018.

Prevalence of childhood obesity in Spain: National Health Survey 2006-2007.

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Escuela Nacional de Sanidad, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, España.



Childhood Obesity has become a Public Health priority due to it high prevalence and consequences in health status.


To estimate prevalence of obesity in the children included in the National Health Survey of 2006-2007 and to determine its association with socioeconomic position and other socio-demographic variables.


Cross-sectional study using data available from 6,139 Spanish children between 2-15 years old, included in the National Health Survey. Parents or guardians reported weight and height to estimate obesity prevalence according to the International Obesity Task Force cut-offs for body mass index.


Obesity prevalence was 10,3% and overweight prevalence was 18,8%. Obesity was more prevalent in children from 4-5 years age (18,3%) and overweight in the 8-9 years stratus (25,5%). Overweight was more frequent in boys than girls (19,8% versus 17,8%; p = 0,04). Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla, Valencia and Andalusia were the Autonomous Communities with higher obesity prevalence in contrast with the Basque Country, Galicia and Madrid which showed the lowest prevalence. This distribution generates a north to south gradient in obesity prevalence. Both, obesity and overweight showed an inverse association with socioeconomic position (p < 0,05).


Childhood obesity rates in Spain accounts from ones of the highest in Europe, with a strong geographic and socioeconomic gradient. Priority should be given to effective interventions that can reach the most vulnerable groups as identified in this study, like restrictions on TV food advertising and tax reliefs to promote healthy eating.

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