Aim: To evaluate the trend of infantile obesity in the school-aged population of Cremona over time.
Methods: The weight and height of all children aged 6, 9 and 11 attending schools within the health district of Cremona were measured for 9 consecutive years (January 1990-March 1998), giving a total of 17,730 measurements. Pupils whose bodyweight was 20% above the mean weight for stature and sex given by NCHS canthimetric classes were defined as obese. In addition, three degrees of obesity were defined: slight obesity (20-29% excess bodyweight), moderate obesity (30-50%) and severe obesity (over 50%).
Results: This study showed the trend of the increasing prevalence of infantile obesity in the zone in question: it rose from an overall level of 6.1% to 13.6% in 1998. The increase regarded all age groups; levels were three times higher in older children, but obesity had more than doubled in 6-year-olds. With regard to the three classes of obesity, there was a particularly striking increase in moderate obesity, whereas the cases of severe obesity remained constant.
Conclusions: These data underline the need for more incisive educational and preventive work in the field of infantile obesity to be carried out as soon as possible.