Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014 Apr;2(4):321-32. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70173-6. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

Childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity in Latin America: a systematic review.

Author information

Center for Nutrition and Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. Electronic address:
Center for Nutrition and Health Research, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.
Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


The number of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese worldwide is alarming. We did a systematic review to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children aged 0-19 years in Latin America. We searched specialised databases and seven books for relevant studies that were done in Spanish-speaking and Portuguese-speaking Latin American and Caribbean countries and published in peer-reviewed journals between January 2008, and April 2013. Indicators used were BMI (kg/m(2)) in all age groups and weight-for-height in children younger than 5 years. We identified 692 publications and included 42. Estimated prevalence of overweight in children younger than 5 years in Latin America was 7·1% with the weight-for-height WHO 2006 classification method. National combined prevalences of overweight and obesity with the WHO 2007 classification method ranged from 18·9% to 36·9% in school-age children (5-11 years) and from 16·6% to 35·8% in adolescents (12-19 years). We estimated that 3·8 million children younger than 5 years, 22·2-25·9 million school-age children, and 16·5-21·1 million adolescents were overweight or obese. Overall, between 42·5 and 51·8 million children aged 0-19 years were affected-ie, about 20-25% of the population. Although undernutrition and obesity coexist in the region, policies in most countries favour prevention of undernutrition, and only a few countries have implemented national policies to prevent obesity. In view of the number of children who are overweight or obese, the associated detrimental effects on health, and the cost to health-care systems, implementation of programmes to monitor and prevent unhealthy weight gain in children and adolescents are urgently needed throughout Latin America.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center