El Mouzan, Mohammad, Foster, Peter J, Al Herbish, Adbullah, Al Salloum, Abdullah, Al Omar, Ahmad, Qurachi, Mansour and Kecojevic, Tatyana
Prevalence of overweight in preschool children using the new WHO growth standards.
Background & Objective: Limited data are available on the prevalence of overweight in infants and children using the new WHO reference. Therefore, the objective of this study was to establish the prevalence of overweight in Saudi preschool children using the 2006 WHO child growth standards in comparison with the 2000 CDC reference in order to suggest the most suitable reference. Subjects and Methods: the data set of the 2005 Saudi reference was used to calculate the BMI for age in children below 60 months of age. The prevalence of overweight was calculated based on the two references using the WHO cutoffs (weight for height or BMI for age above +2 standard deviation score). A lower cutoff for excess weight, BMI for age > + 1 SDS (equivalent CDC cut off for overweight) was also used. All calculations were performed using the WHO and CDC software as appropriate. Chisquare test was used to compare proportions and a p-value <0.05 was considered significant. Results: There were 15554 children from birth to 60 months of age, in which the prevalence of BMI > +2 SDS (WHO cutoff for overweight) using the WHO standards was 6%. Using the WHO and CDC reference, the prevalence of overweight by WHO cut off in the age group 24-60 months was 5% and 5.8% respectively (p=0.100). Prevalence values using lower cut off for BMI for age > +1 SDS were 15.7 % and 12.2% based on the WHO and CDC references respectively (p=0.001). Conclusions: the prevalence of BMI > +2 SDS (overweight by WHO definition) in Saudi infants and young children is intermediately high, calling for preventive measures to prevent further increases described in other countries. The WHO child growth standards appear to be a more suitable reference for the surveillance of overweight in preschool children. However, this assumption needs confirmation by further studies on the relationship between cutoffs and health outcome.
Uncontrolled Keywords (separate with ;):
Overweight prevalence; Saudi children; WHO reference