Prevalence of overweight and abdominal obesity according to anthropometric parameters and the association with sexual maturation in adolescent schoolchildren

The objective of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of overweight and abdominal obesity in schoolchildren according to anthropometric parameters and sexual maturation. A cross-sectional study was performed in 1,405 children of both genders aged 10-14 years, living in Recife, Pernambuco State, Brazil, in 2007. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were assessed. Sexual maturation was self-assessed. Early sexual maturation was defined as the chronological age below the median age for the referred stage. Prevalence of overweight was 20.4% (95%CI: 18.3-22.6), and abdominal obesity was 14.9% (95%CI: 13.1-16.9) and 12.6% (95%CI: 10.9-14.4) according to WC and WHtR, respectively. There was a strong positive correlation among BMI, WC, and WHtR (rho ≅ 0.8; p < 0.001). In both genders, the prevalence of overweight and abdominal obesity was higher in the final stages of sexual maturation (p < 0.05). The high prevalence of overweight requires urgent preventive measures and control. Therefore, the inclusion of sexual maturation for the assessment of nutritional status is recommended.

Abdominal Obesity; Sexual Maturation; Anthropometry; Students


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