Objective: The objective of this paper is to show the increase, in 20 years, of the prevalence of obesity of the children from Maghrebian origin, living in Parisian area, and their importance compared to non-immigrated children of the same age (birth to 4 years), according to the national French references.
Methods: The Body Mass Index (Weight/Height 2) was calculated at 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 years among 517 children born in the seventies (period A) and among 196 children born in the nineties (period B) in a longitudinal study. Obesity was defined in comparison with the 97th percentile of the French references; the children having BMI equal or superior to the 97th percentile of the French references were regarded as obese.
Results: The ratio of obese children was higher in the sample from Maghrebian origin compared to the French references, in period A and in period B. But the obese children were also more numerous among children born after 1990, compared to their frequency in the seventies. The prevalence of the obesity has increased from 8% to 13%, in 20 years, among the children aged from birth to 4 years. We can observe that the mean age of the adiposity rebound has decreased: 45.5% of the Maghrebian children born in the seventies had an adiposity rebound at 48 months or earlier, and 66% among Maghrebian children born in the nineties.
Conclusion: The quantity and the kind of food provided to young children, from the age of the diversified feeding, involved in decreasing energy expenditure, can be responsible for overweight. This study shows that it is important to be vigilant with overweight children with precocious adiposity rebound, in order to avoid a durable obesity at adulthood and its consequences on health.