Further stabilization and even decrease in the prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in German children and adolescents from 2005 to 2015: a cross-sectional and trend analysis

Public Health Nutr. 2017 Dec;20(17):3075-3083. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017002257. Epub 2017 Sep 21.


Objective: Recently several industrialized countries reported a stabilization or even a decrease in childhood overweight and obesity prevalence rates. In Germany, this trend started in 2004. The present study therefore aimed to evaluate whether this trend has continued or even leads in a clear direction. Design/Setting/Subjects BMI (>90th percentile (overweight), >97th percentile (obesity)) from the CrescNet database was analysed in 326 834 children and adolescents according to three age groups (4-7·99, 8-11·99 and 12-16 years), gender and between time points (2005-2015).

Results: Trend analysis from 2005 to 2010 demonstrated that the prevalence of overweight and obesity decreased significantly in boys and girls in the entire group (4-16 years) and in 4-7·99-year-olds. From 2010 to 2015 there was a significant decrease in boys for overweight and obesity in the entire group and for overweight among 8-11·99-year-olds. Within the cross-sectional analysis, prevalence rates for overweight decreased significantly for both genders in the age groups of 4-7·99 and 8-11·99 years (2005 v. 2015). For obesity, prevalence rates showed a significant decrease for boys (2005 v. 2015) and girls (2005 v. 2010) in 4-7·99-year-olds.

Conclusions: We observed a further stabilization of overweight and obesity prevalence rates for all age groups and even a decrease in the rates for the younger ages (4-7·99 years, 8-11·99 years). As other industrialized countries have also reported similar trends, it seems that the epidemic of childhood overweight and obesity is reaching a turning point in the industrial part of the world.

Keywords: Adolescents; Childhood obesity; Prevalence; Stabilizing trend; Trend analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors