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Prevalence of thinness among children and adolescents in Shandong, China

Zhang, Ying-xiu, Wang, Zhao-xia, Wang, Mei, Xie, Li
European journal of nutrition 2016 v.55 no.2 pp. 809-813
adolescents, body mass index, boys, childhood, cross-sectional studies, developing countries, education, girls, monitoring, nutrition, public health, school children, students, China
PURPOSE: Thinness in children and adolescents poses a considerable public health problem globally, especially in developing countries. The present study examined the prevalence of thinness among children and adolescents in Shandong, China. METHODS: Data for this study were obtained from a large cross-sectional survey of schoolchildren. A total of 42,348 students (21,248 boys and 21,100 girls) aged 7–18 years participated in this study. Stature and weight of all subjects were measured; body mass index (BMI) was calculated from their stature and weight. International BMI cutoffs were used to define thinness. RESULTS: The overall prevalences of thinness grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3 among children and adolescents aged 7–18 years were 7.74, 1.43 and 0.61 % for boys and 11.51, 2.54 and 1.03 % for girls, respectively; these figures were all significantly higher in girls than in boys (P < 0.01). Thin children and adolescents had lower stature levels than their counterparts in not thin group in all age groups (7–18 years). CONCLUSION: The prevalence of childhood thinness is still wide in Shandong Province, and public health and nutritional strategies must give attention to the intervention for thinness, including periodic monitoring, education on pattern of nutrition and healthy dietary behavior.