Overweight in school-aged children and its relationship with demographic and lifestyle factors: results from the WHO-Collaborative Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study

Int J Public Health. 2009 Sep;54 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):167-79. doi: 10.1007/s00038-009-5408-6.


Objectives: To examine overweight prevalence and its association with demographic and lifestyle factors in 11-15 year olds in the HBSC 2005-2006 survey.

Methods: Self-reports of height, weight, eating patterns, physical activity and sedentary behaviours were obtained from nationally representative samples in 41 countries (n=204,534).

Results: Overweight prevalence was highest in USA (28.8 %) and lowest in Latvia (7.6 %). In most countries, overweight was more prevalent in boys than girls. Overweight was consistently negatively associated with breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity; OR range: 0.48-0.79 and 0.50-0.78, respectively.

Conclusion: Overweight prevalence in youth remained high across the countries examined. The primary factors linked to overweight were breakfast consumption and physical activity. These data should contribute to formulating preventive programs and policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Demography*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • World Health Organization*