Background: Childhood adolescence overweight and obesity are increasing in Romania, but limited information is available on their current trends.
Aim: the current study aimed to analyze the trend in prevalence of weight disturbances and stunting in the past 5 years in school aged children from the Transylvania region in Romania.
Material and Methods: Two cross-sectional data sets from 2013 (1129 subjects) and 2018 (3173 subjects) were analyzed, both including children from 6 to 14 years, from urban schools in Mures county, Romania. Data on age, gender, height, weight and body mass index (BMI) was collected. All anthropometric measurements were carried out by trained personnel using standardized instruments. Standard deviation scores for height and BMI were calculated using the national synthetic standards for height and the WHO standards for BMI. Overweight was defined as BMI >1SD, obesity as BMI >2SD, underweight as BMI below -2SD and short stature as height below -2SD for age and sex. The prevalence of weight and height disturbances was calculated for both data sets, according to gender and age group. For data analysis M.O Excel and SPSS v. 25 were used with a level of significance α=0.05.
Results: Gender and age distribution were similar in the two data sets (P=0.071 for gender, and P=1.000 for age). Prevalence of overweight increased in all age groups and both sexes, from 18.95% in 2013 to 22.63% in 2018, with the highest value for the pubertal age group (12-14 years). Obesity prevalence increased overall from 11.96% to 12.1%, but this was caused by an increase only for male gender, as the prevalence of obesity in girls decreased from 9.39% in 2013 to 8.84% in 2018. Prevalence of stunting decreased in both sexes from 3.99% to 1.51%. Underweight had a positive trend, with a prevalence of 1.42% in 2013 and 3.97% in 2018, with gender having no influence (P=0.424).
Conclusion: Both overweight and underweight have a positive trend, while stunting is decreasing in frequency. Obesity has a positive trend in boys, but is decreasing in girls, albeit the difference being rather small.
Keywords: obesity, underweight, prevalence, trend, Romania, urban
19 Sep 2019 - 21 Sep 2019