Children are becoming taller and more obese, study shows – 04/02/2024 – Balance and Health

Children are becoming taller and more obese, study shows – 04/02/2024 – Balance and Health
Children are becoming taller and more obese, study shows – 04/02/2024 – Balance and Health

Children in Brazil are getting taller and more obese. This is what a study by researchers from Cidacs (Center for Data Integration and Knowledge for Health) at Fiocruz Bahia (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation) shows, in collaboration with UFMG (Federal University of Minas Gerais) and University College London.

The research was published in the scientific journal The Lancet Regional Health – Americas and observed the measurements of more than five million Brazilian children, aged 3 to 10 years. It shows that, between 2001 and 2014, there was an increase of 1 centimeter in the child height trajectory.

“Having a taller height is associated with positive health outcomes, such as a lower likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and greater longevity. The growth in height of Brazilian children reflects economic development and improvements in living conditions in past years”, said Carolina Viera, researcher associated with Cidacs/Fiocruz Bahia and leader of the investigation at Agência Fiocruz.

Among the data analyzed, the prevalence of overweight and obesity also increased considerably. “These results indicate that Brazil, like all countries in the world, is far from reaching the World Health Organization’s target [OMS] to ‘stop the increase’ in the prevalence of obesity by 2030”, said Vieira.

In the study analyses, differences between sexes were taken into account, estimating an average trajectory of BMI (body mass index) and height for girls, and another for boys. It was analyzed that there was an increase of 0.06 kg/mtwo among boys and 0.04 kg/mtwo among girls.

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The study population was divided into two groups: those born from 2001 to 2007, and those born from 2008 to 2014. In the age group of 5 to 10 years, the prevalence of overweight increased by 3.2% among boys and 2. 7% among girls. In the case of obesity, the increase in prevalence went from 11.1% to 13.8% among boys and from 9.1% to 11.2% among girls (an increase of 2.7% and 2.1% , respectively).

In the 3 and 4 year old age group, there was an increase in excess weight by 0.9% among boys and 0.8% among girls. As for obesity, there was an increase from 4% to 4.5% in boys and from 3.6% to 3.9% in girls — an increase of 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively.

While the increase in height is encouraging, the increase in weight is worrying. Diets with ultra-processed foods and an increase in sedentary behavior and lack of physical activity contribute to this scenario, although obesity is a complex and multifactorial disease, in the researcher’s opinion. Furthermore, a higher prevalence of obesity brings the risk of an increase in chronic non-communicable diseases.

“It is worth highlighting that this impact will be even greater in the population of poorer children, where the prevalence of obesity has been increasing more. Prevention policies must be targeted more specifically for this social group”, says Vieira.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Children taller obese study shows Balance Health



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