Obesity in preschool children: an intervention programme in primary health care in Singapore

Ann Acad Med Singap. 1994 May;23(3):335-41.


The Programme on Prevention and Management of Obesity in Preschool Children, aged three to six years, was implemented in 17 Primary Health Clinics in November 1991. The study sample comprised 1128 preschool children who qualified to enter the obesity register, using the defined criteria for obesity of 2 standard deviations above the normal weight for height and age. This group was divided into three categories, namely, mildly overweight (120% to below 140%), moderately overweight (140% to below 160%), and severely overweight (above 160%). The severely overweight category was referred to dietitians for follow-up management, while the other two categories were managed by the clinic staff through pre-planned nurse-conducted counselling sessions. In this paper, we analysed the first 1128 preschool children aged three to six years on the Programme with respect to their demographic characteristics; medical conditions; family history of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and ischaemic heart disease; number of siblings and parents' educational and occupational status. The Malay children showed significantly more severe grades of obesity compared to the Chinese and Indian children. A family history of obesity and hypertension among the three groups were significant (P < 0.001). After one year of follow-up with the intervention programme, the following were found: 40.4% (456) of the children improved in their obesity status and 20.2% (228) reached normal status. The severe, moderate and mild categories reduced from 6.3% to 5.9%, 29.3% to 23.2% and 64.4% to 50.7% respectively and was found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / ethnology
  • Counseling
  • Dietetics
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / ethnology
  • Male
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Primary Health Care
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sex Factors
  • Singapore