Overweight and obesity trends in Copenhagen schoolchildren from 2002 to 2007

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Nov;99(11):1675-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01897.x. Epub 2010 Jun 14.


Aim: The purpose of this study is to monitor the prevalence trend in overweight and obesity among Copenhagen schoolchildren from the school years 2002 to 2007.

Methods: Copenhagen community health service doctors conducted routine examinations at school entry (ages 5-8 years) and exit (ages 14-16 years). Body mass index (kg/m²) of 33,245 schoolchildren was calculated. The prevalence of overweight (including obesity) and obesity was classified using the International Obesity Task Force definitions.

Results: From 2002 to 2007, although the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) in young girls decreased from 17.8 to 15.9%, the trend was non-significant. In young boys, the trend slightly decreased, and the prevalence fell from 14.0 to 11.6%. In adolescent girls, the prevalence varied considerably and increased from 22.7 to 25.4% without a discernable trend. In adolescent boys, the trend slightly increased, and the prevalence rose from 15.8 to 18.9%. There were no significant changes in the prevalence of obesity.

Conclusion: In contrast to the preceding decades, we identified a potential stagnation in the obesity epidemic among children but a continuing increase among adolescents. It remains critical to continue monitoring and to increase preventive measures to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Physical Examination
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Prevalence
  • School Health Services