Background: Overweight and obesity currently represent one of the most important public health problems in industrialized countries and are also linked to cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea, as well as to orthopaedic and other complications.
Objectives: To examine overweight and the risk of overweight in the school-aged population in Galicia in comparison with the nationally representative survey in the US population: the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES-1).
Methods: We performed a cross sectional study including a sample of 1105 boys and girls (50 % from a rural environment and 50 % from urban areas) in Galicia, northwest Spain.
Results: The 50th percentile for boys and girls in Galicia was higher than the corresponding percentile in the NHANES-1 for all the ages studied. In general, the 85th and 95th percentiles for children's body mass index in Galicia were higher in the group aged 6-14 years.
Conclusions: In Galicia body mass index values in the 50th, 85th and 95th percentiles were higher in girls than in boys. For the 50th percentile, both boys and girls in Galicia had higher values than those of the NHANES-1 for all ages. In areas with risk of excess weight (85th percentile) and prevailing excess weight (95th percentile) the same was true in the 6 to 13-14 age group for both sexes.