To be an immigrant: a risk factor for developing overweight and obesity during childhood and adolescence?

J Biosoc Sci. 2006 Sep;38(5):695-705. doi: 10.1017/S0021932005027094.


Childhood overweight and obesity, especially among migrant children, are current health problems in several European countries. In the present study the prevalence of overweight and obesity among migrant children from Turkey and the former Yugoslavia was documented and compared with that of Austrian children in Vienna. Anthropometric data from 1,786 children were collected at the ages of 6, 10 and 15 years. Body mass was estimated by means of the body mass index and percentile curves were used to determine weight status. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be significantly higher among migrant children. Children and adolescents from the former Yugoslavia and Turkish girls exhibited especially high rates of overweight and obesity. Biosocial and cultural factors are discussed as causes of these observations.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Turkey / ethnology
  • Yugoslavia / ethnology