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Childhood Obesity PreventionInternational Research, Controversies and Interventions$
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Jennifer A. O'Dea and Michael Eriksen

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199572915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199572915.001.0001

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Childhood overweight and obesity in developed countries: Global trends and correlates

Childhood overweight and obesity in developed countries: Global trends and correlates

Chapter 6 Childhood overweight and obesity in developed countries: Global trends and correlates
Childhood Obesity Prevention

Tim Olds

Carol Maher

Oxford University Press

The belief that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children globally has been, and continues to be, increasing exponentially has become a media commonplace: research indicates that if childhood obesity rates continue to soar, half of all Australian children will be overweight by the year 2025. This view has been echoed by a number of public health advocates. The British Heart Foundation, for example, recently claimed that more than two thirds of British children will be overweight by 2050 and that Britain as a whole is heading for an obesity epidemic. Several studies have used exponential models to describe secular trends in the prevalence of childhood overweight in Australia, in Europe, and globally. In 2006, Norton and colleagues, for example, reported that overweight prevalence among Australian children has accelerated since the early 1970s, and predicted that it will continue to climb, reaching adult rates by 2035. At the same time, there is emerging evidence of a flattening in rates of increase, and concern that childhood obesity has become a ‘moral panic’ which may have deleterious consequences in terms of increasing stress, anxiety, body image dissatisfaction, and eating disorders. Given these conflicting views, this chapter collates and synthesizes available data on global historical (40–50 year) trends in children's fatness, using body mass index (BMI) and skinfold thicknesses as metrics; comments on recent (5–10 year) trends; and describes the correlates of overweight and obesity.

Keywords:   children, adolescents, epidemiology, correlates, global, BMI

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