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The characteristics of obesity and being overweight in children living in two Saskatchewan communities



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There is limited study of the prevalence of childhood obesity and being overweight in 6 to 9 year old children living in Saskatchewan and Canada using the international standards and measured data. Limited data exists of the prevalence of obesity in rural and small urban communities. In 2000, a cross-sectional survey of children was conducted that primarily assessed the respiratory health of children in two southern Saskatchewan communities. Anthropometric measurements (height and weight) as well as child and familial data were available for 1241 children ages 6 to 9 years. Using data from this study and applying international standards for obesity and overweight developed by Cole and colleagues (2000) an analysis was undertaken to describe and compare the prevalence of overweight and obesity between communities and identify associated risk factors. Although the mean body mass index (BMI) differed statistically between communities, no differences in overweight and obesity were identified once the international standards were applied. The overall prevalence was 19.2% for being overweight and 5.2% for obesity. More girls than boys were overweight and obese at age 9. After adjusting for age, sex and community, maternal smoking during pregnancy and current gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea and/or diarrhea were associated with overweight and obesity. Lower physical activity in free time was associated with being overweight as a child. Children who were not consistently participating in physical education and sports in school were more likely to be overweight and obese. This research provides important new information regarding the prevalence and associated risk factors for overweight and obesity in school aged children in Saskatchewan. Although results concur with international prevalence rates of childhood obesity, children in this study were not as overweight or obese as previously reported data has shown for similar Canadian populations. Less physical activity, both in school and at home, may be important for the development and continuation of childhood obesity. Further research is necessary to explore reasons why obese and overweight children are experiencing significant digestive related health concerns.



international standards for childhood overweight a, breastfeeding



Master of Nursing (M.N.)


College of Nursing


College of Nursing


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