Overweight and Obesity in A Sample of Primary School Children in Baghdad


ABSTRACT:BACKGROUND: Obesity is one of the most serious public health problems of the 21st century, that has many serious long-term consequences for health. The prevalence of childhood obesity has been increasing at worrying rates across the globe.OBJECTIVE: To measure the prevalence and identify potential risk factors of overweight and obesity among a sample of primary school children in Baghdad, Iraq.METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted on a random sample of 10 primary schools from different localities of Baghdad, followed by a systematic random sample of 620 children aged 10 years or more of both sexes. A questionnaire sent to the parents to gather information on socio-demographic characteristics, dietary habits, daily physical activity, steroids use, family history of obesity and parents` education and job. Children's height (cm), weight (Kg), and BMI-for-age were measured and parents` height and weight were obtained through a questionnaire sent to the parents and accordingly BMI (Kg/m2) was calculated. Child's weight status was categorized based on WHO 2007 Growth Reference.RESULTS:The prevalence of high BMI was 30.3%, including 16.3% overweight and 14% obesity. Following application of binary analysis, the significant risk factors included in the logistic regression model that revealed the following significant risk factors: not having regular sports (OR: 4.1; P=0.000), child inactivity (OR: 3.1; P=0.001), high meal frequency (OR: 2.6; P=0.006), positive family history of obesity (OR: 2.5; P=0.01) and more sweets and bicarbonate beverages (OR: 2.2, P=0.002). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of overweight/obesity was high among primary school children. Children should be considered the priority population for intervention strategies and to combat early childhood obesity..