Menoufia Medical Journal

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2014  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 529--532

Prevalence of obesity in primary school children living in Alexandria governorate


Ali Mohamed El-Shafie, Hossam Hemdan Hogran, Abdelhamed Mohamed Dohein 
 Department of Pediatrics, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Abdelhamed Mohamed Dohein
Department of Pediatrics, Menoufia University, Menoufia
Egypt

Abstract

Objective The aim of the work was to assess the prevalence of obesity among children of primary schools in Alexandria governorate. Background Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6-11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. Participants and methods A cross-sectional study was carried out on 3500 Egyptian children to calculate prevalence of overweight and obesity among primary school children at age of 6-12 years living in Alexandria governorate. Four schools from urban areas and two from rural areas including both sexes were selected randomly in this study. They were subjected to physical examination and anthropometric measurements including BMI. Data were expressed in terms of Z-scores using the WHO Z-score cutoff points. Conclusion Pediatric obesity is a prevalent and rapidly increasing problem that poses a serious risk to the health and well-being of the nations«SQ» youths. Overweight and obesity were relatively high among age group 6-12 years. It was more common in female individuals than male individuals. It was more common in urban than rural areas. It was common in private schools than in governmental schools. Children of high socioeconomic level were more obese than other children.



How to cite this article:
El-Shafie AM, Hogran HH, Dohein AM. Prevalence of obesity in primary school children living in Alexandria governorate.Menoufia Med J 2014;27:529-532


How to cite this URL:
El-Shafie AM, Hogran HH, Dohein AM. Prevalence of obesity in primary school children living in Alexandria governorate. Menoufia Med J [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Apr 10 ];27:529-532
Available from: http://www.mmj.eg.net/text.asp?2014/27/3/529/145502


Full Text

 Introduction



The prevalence of childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate worldwide [1] .

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6-11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008 [2] .

Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat that adversely affects the health [3] .

Obesity is the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) [4] .

The causes of obesity are multifactorial and include genetic predisposition, sedentary lifestyle, overeating, fast food diet, lack of adequate nutritional education, school environment, and advertising and marketing of unhealthy foods [5] .

It is well accepted that childhood obesity relates to adulthood overweight/obesity [6] . There is evidence that higher BMI percentiles (>99th percentile) in children are associated with increased health risks [7] .

Endocrine and cardiovascular abnormalities are among the most well-documented health factors associated with overweight in children; these include insulin resistance, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia [8] . Other health conditions seen more frequently in overweight compared with normal weight children include sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, elevated liver enzymes, pseudotumor cerebri, polycystic ovarian disease, and orthopedic problems [8] .

It was found that obese children are three times more likely to have hypertension than nonobese children and also have risk factors for later disease, such as type 2 diabetes [9] .

In the absence of effective strategies to prevent and treat childhood obesity, millions of children will enter adulthood with the physical and psychological consequences of excess adiposity [10] .

It is commonly agreed that prevention is better than cure. Hence, obesity prevention is the primary and most obvious strategy to control this disease [11] .

The healthy diet and regular exercise are the cornerstone of overall good health for prevention of childhood obesity [11] .

 Participants and methods



A cross-sectional study was carried out on 3500 Egyptian children to calculate prevalence of overweight and obesity among primary school children at age of 6-12 years living in Alexandria governorate. Two schools were randomly selected from rural areas and four schools from urban areas including male and female children. All cases were subjected to the following:

(1) Clinical history taking with special emphasis on:

(a) Personal data: name, age, sex, and residence.

(b) Assessment of socioeconomic standard of family with questions about the father's education and occupation, mother's education and occupation, and family income according to modified Fahmy and El Sherbini [12] .

(2) Physical examination with special emphasis on anthropometric measurements including weight, height, and BMI.

Statistical analysis

Collected data were compiled, coded, and verified; thereafter, analysis was performed using SPSS (v.17; SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois, USA) software for Microsoft Windows 7. Data were expressed in terms of SD scores (Z-scores) using the WHO AnthroPlus software provided by WHO website; the Z-score cutoff points recommended by the WHO were used [13] .

 Results



We found from this study that prevalence of obesity among primary school children was 9%.

Obesity was more common in female children than in male children.

Obesity was more common in urban than in rural areas.

Obesity was more common in private than in public schools.

Obesity was more common in high socioeconomic standard children.

Weight-for-age reference Z-scores are not available beyond the age of 10 years (120 months) because this indicator does not distinguish between height and body mass during an age period where many children are experiencing the pubertal growth spurt and may appear as having excess weight (by weight-for-age) when in fact they are just tall [13] ([Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3] [Figure 4] and [Figure 5] and [Table 1], [Table 2] and [Table 3]).{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}{Figure 4}{Figure 5}{Table 1}{Table 2}{Table 3}

 Discussion



This study included 3500 primary school children in Alexandria governorate; their age ranged from 6 to 12 years. With respect to the BMI for age Z-score of children in present study, we found 13 (0.4%) children with less than 3 SD (severe thinness) and 194 (5.5%) children with less than 2 SD (thinness), whereas the number of children who were greater than 1 SD (overweight) was 588 (16.8%), greater than 2 SD (obese) was 230 (6.6%), and greater than 3 SD (obese) was 84 (2.4%). The prevalence of overweight and obesity in our study (16.8 and 9%, respectively) was higher than that reported from previous Egyptian study conducted by El-Shafie et al. [11] who showed the prevalence of overweight and obesity of 11.5 and 8.8%, respectively, among children in El-Bagour district. In addition, prevalence in our study is higher than in other study conducted by Bahbah et al. [14] who found that the prevalence of overweight and obesity in El-Sinbellawin district was 11.5 and 8.5%, respectively. Regarding BMI Z-score classes, we found that prevalence of obesity among female individual (10.10%) was higher than in male individual (7.70%); this could be due to reduced activity levels of girls in the school or out of the school. This is in agreement with most previous studies conducted in Egypt that showed increase in female percentage of obesity compared with boys. Regarding BMI Z-score classes, we found that percentage of overweight and obesity was 18.4 and 10.1%, respectively, in urban children, which was higher than in rural children, 12.1 and 5.6%, respectively; this could be explained by dietary variation between rural and urban areas.

 Acknowledgements



Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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