Age-specific stabilization in obesity prevalence in German children: a cross-sectional study from 1999 to 2008

Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011 Jun;6(2-2):e199-206. doi: 10.3109/17477166.2010.526305. Epub 2010 Nov 23.


Objective: Trends of overweight (ov)/obesity (ob) prevalence among German children aged 4-16 years were studied between 1999 and 2008.

Subjects: Body mass index (BMI) data (>P90 [ov] and >P97 [ob]) from the national CrescNet database were analysed in three age groups: 4-7.99, 8-11.99, and 12-16 years.

Results: Trend analyses. Data from 272 826 children were analyzed. a) Whole study population aged 4-16 years old. A significant upward trend for ov/ob prevalence was found between 1999 and 2003, and a significant downward trend between 2004 and 2008. b) Subgroup analyses. Ov/Ob prevalence increased in most subgroups studied until 2004. Between 2004 and 2008, a downward trend for ov/ob prevalence was found in children, aged 4-7.99 years, whereas it stabilized in most other subgroups studied. Cross-sectional analyses. Data from 93 028 children were analyzed. Ov/ob prevalence was significantly higher in 2004 compared with 2000 in girls aged 12-16 years and in boys aged 8-16 years. Ov/ob obesity prevalence was significantly lower in 2008 compared with 2004 in children aged 4-7.99 years.

Conclusion: Ov/ob prevalence increased between 1999 and 2003 in German children. Since 2004, this trend has been stabilizing or turning into a downward trend. Our data confirm the global trend of stabilizing prevalence rates of childhood obesity at a high level and add important information for individual age groups. Intervention programs targeted to prevent childhood obesity may have had beneficial effects, and a new balance between factors favouring obesity and those favouring leanness may have been reached recently. Age- and gender-specific differences found in trends of ov/ob prevalence may help optimise preventive and therapeutic measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aging*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Overweight / diagnosis
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / physiopathology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors