Objective: Secular trend in childhood obesity is a well-known phenomenon, and it is important to monitor it in cross-sectional studies. The study aim was to estimate prevalence of obesity and overweight in Polish 7- to 9-year-old children and to compare the results with a French study based on the same protocol.
Research methods and procedures: The study was conducted in 2001 according to the protocol of the European Childhood Obesity Group. Height and weight were measured, and BMI was calculated to define nutritional status in a randomly selected group of 2916 (1445 girls and 1471 boys) primary school children. Obesity and overweight were estimated according to International Obesity Task Force references with curve for obesity and overweight passing through 30 and 25 kg/m(2) at age 18, respectively.
Results: Overweight (including obesity) was found in 15.4% of Polish children (in 15.8% of girls and 15.0% of boys) and obesity in 3.6% (3.7% of girls and 3.6% of boys) compared with 18.1% of overweight and 3.8% of obese children in French study. There was no significant difference in nutrition status between Polish and French children except for higher frequency of overweight in French 9-year-old boys. The same trend of decreasing overweight through age classes was observed in both populations.
Discussion: The prevalence of obesity and overweight (including obesity) in prepubertal children estimated in two European countries according to the same protocol and using the same references showed little differences between the two populations despite higher prevalence of obesity in Polish than French adults.