Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity: 2009 to 2016

Daniela Rodrigues, Diogo Costa, Augusta Gama, Aristides Machado‐Rodrigues, Helena Nogueira, Maria‐Raquel G. Silva, Vítor Rosado‐Marques and Cristina Padez are the authors of the most recent article published in the American Journal of Human Biology. 

Socioeconomic inequalities in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among Portuguese preschool‐aged children: Changes from 2009 to 2016, evaluated, for the first time in Portugal, the prevalence of overweight and obesity according to parental education in a population of preschool‐aged Portuguese children in 2009/2010 and 2016/2017.

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Abstract

Objectives

We evaluated, for the first time in Portugal, the prevalence of overweight and obesity according to parental education in a population of preschool‐aged Portuguese children in 2009/2010 and 2016/2017. Anthropometric data were collected in public and private preschools (n = 1996 in 2009/2010; n = 2077 in 2016/2017). Body mass index was calculated and weight status categories were based on the International Obesity Task Force cutoff points. Parental education level was self‐reported. Prevalence of overweight (17.1%–14.1%; p < 0.001) and obesity (6.6%–3.9%, p < 0.001) was lower in 2016/2017 than in 2009/2010, with higher rates being found in the north of the country. Parental education was significantly associated with childhood overweight and obesity and inequalities between low‐ and high‐education increased between the two periods. While a decrease in childhood overweight and obesity were positive findings, the prevalence is still high and shows pronounced socioeconomic differences. Policies for obesity prevention need to be inclusive and tackle inequalities, with interventions tailored to suit local contexts.

Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood obesity: 2009 to 2016

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