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Prevalence of overweight and obesity in adolescent Tehrani students, 2000–2001: an epidemic health problem

  • B Mohammadpour-Ahranjani (a1), A Rashidi (a1), M Karandish (a2), MR Eshraghian (a3) and N Kalantari (a4)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/PHN2003593
  • Published online: 01 January 2007
Abstract
AbstractObjective:

Overweight has become a public health problem in most developing countries. Evidence suggests that adolescence is a critical period in determining adulthood obesity and its complications. The present study was carried out to assess the prevalence of overweight and obesity among secondary school students.

Design and setting:

This descriptive study was conducted in Tehran city, 2000–2001. Body weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) values were calculated. Underweight, overweight and obesity were defined as <5th, ≥85th and ≥95th percentile, respectively, of age- and sex-specific BMI values from the National Center for Health Statistics/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2000).

Subjects:

Using a multistage sampling method, 2321 students (1068 males and 1253 females) aged 11–16 years were assessed in Tehran, the capital city of Iran.

Results:

The overall prevalences of overweight and obesity were 21.1 and 7.8%, respectively. The prevalence of overweight among girl students (i.e. 23.1%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 20.8–25.4) was significantly higher than that among boys (i.e. 18.8%; 95% CI 16.5–21.1, P = 0.01) even after adjustment for age (odds ratio 1.26, 95% CI 1.03–1.55, P = 0.02). No significant risk of obesity associated with age was found in girls or boys. In both sexes, median values of age-specific BMI in this study were statistically higher than corresponding values collected in Tehrani adolescents 10 years ago (P = 0.03). Similarly, a significant difference was seen between girl students in this study and the reference population (P = 0.03).

Conclusion:

According to this study, overweight, especially in girls, should be considered an epidemic health problem among adolescent students in Tehran.

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*Corresponding author: Email B.Mohammadpour@nnftri.ac.ir
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4A Must , RS Strauss . Risks and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 1999; 23(Suppl 2): S2–11.

7M Hosseini , RG Carpenter , K Mohammad , ME Jones . Standardized percentile curves of body mass index of Iranian children compared to the US population reference. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 1999; 23: 783–6.

9RP Troiano , KM Flegal , RJ Kuczmarski , SM Campbell , CL Johnson . Overweight prevalence and trends for children and adolescents. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1963 to 1991. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 1995; 149: 1085–91.

13M Rios , E Fluiters , LF Perez-Mendez , EG Garcia-Mayor , RV Gracia-Mayor . Prevalence of childhood overweight in Northwestern Spain: a comparative study of two periods with a ten year interval. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 1999; 23: 1095–8.

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