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Trends in excess of weight, underweight and adiposity among Spanish children from 2004 to 2010: the Cuenca Study

  • Vicente Martínez-Vizcaíno (a1) (a2), Montserrat Solera Martínez (a1), Blanca Notario Pacheco (a1), Mairena Sánchez López (a1) (a3), Jorge Cañete García-Prieto (a1), Coral Torrijos Niño (a1), Natalia Arias Palencia (a1), Fernando Salcedo Aguilar (a4) and Fernando Rodríguez-Artalejo (a5) (a6)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 27 July 2012

To examine the trends in BMI and adiposity among schoolchildren from Cuenca, Spain, during 2004–2010.


Two methodologically comparable surveys were carried out in 2004 and 2010.


Primary schools in Cuenca, a province in the middle of Spain.


All schoolchildren aged 8–11 years, belonging to 4th and 5th grades from twenty schools in the Province of Cuenca, were invited to participate in both cross-sectional studies. Weight, height and body fat percentage (BF%) from bioelectrical impedance were measured with standardized procedures.


The study included 550 boys and 539 girls in 2004, and 569 boys and 531 girls in 2010. In 2010, 8·1 % of children were underweight, 25·9 % overweight and 9·5 % obese. From 2004 to 2010, the prevalence of overweight rose from 21·6 % to 28·0 % (P = 0·004) and BF % increased from 22·6 % to 24·0 % (P = 0·001) among boys. No change was observed in overweight and BF % in girls, or in underweight and obesity in either sex. In boys, most of the distribution of BMI and BF % shifted to the right; in contrast, among girls no substantial change was apparent in the distribution of BMI and BF %.


From 2004 to 2010 the prevalence of overweight and adiposity has continued to increase among boys. However, the obesity epidemic may have levelled off in girls. Given that the prevalence of childhood excess weight is still very high, the current evidence-based efforts to halt the obesity epidemic in Spain should be strengthened.

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