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The objective of the present study was to describe changes in overweight and obesity prevalence and eating habits among 7·5–10·5-year-old children in Aquitaine (France) between 2004 and 2008, and to assess how the programme ‘Nutrition, Prevention and Health of children and teenagers in Aquitaine’ implemented in 2004 may have impacted these changes.
Two cross-sectional studies were conducted in two samples of children: the ‘before programme’ sample during the school year 2004/2005 and the ‘after programme’ sample during the school year 2008/2009.
Data were collected on gender, age, weight, height, area of residence (rural/urban) and socio-economic status of the school (non-low socio-economic/low socio-economic). Multivariate analyses were used to assess the effect of the regional programme intervention on the evolution of overweight and obesity prevalence and eating habits independently.
The ‘before programme’ sample included 1836 children from 163 schools during the school year 2004/2005 and the ‘after programme’ sample included 3483 children from 210 schools during the school year 2008/2009.
After adjustment of the model for age, residential area and socio-economic status of the area of residence, the prevalence of overweight including obesity (OR=1·05; 95 % CI 0·89, 1·23, P=0·56) and of obesity (OR=0·99; 95 % CI 0·71, 1·39, P=0·96) was found to have stabilized and eating habits had improved: intake of light afternoon meals had increased (OR=1·38; 95 % CI 1·13, 1·69, P=0·002) while snacking in the morning (OR=0·50; 95 % CI 0·45, 0·57, P<0·001) and nibbling (OR=0·81; 95 % CI 0·70, 0·93, P<0·001) had decreased.
These results encourage the promotion and implementation of regional and national interventions among children regarding their eating habits in order to stabilize or decrease the prevalence of overweight.
To determine the prevalence of, and identify associated factors with, overweight and obesity in two samples of French children.
We conducted two cross-sectional studies among two samples of children. Weight status, eating behaviour, sedentary activity, physical activity and parents’ socio-economic status (SES) were collected using questionnaires filled by doctors during school health check-ups. Overweight and obesity were defined according to the age- and sex-specific BMI cut-off points of the International Obesity Taskforce. Multivariate analysis (logistic regression) was used to identify independent factors associated with overweight including obesity and obesity alone.
Aquitaine region (south-west France).
Analyses were conducted among children aged 5–7 years (n 4048) and 7–11 years (n 3619).
Overweight prevalence was 9·5 % including 2·2 % of obesity in 5–7-year-old children and 15·6 % including 2·9 % of obesity in 7–11-year-old children. In both samples, overweight and obesity prevalence were higher in children whose parents had low or medium SES (P < 0·05). Factors associated significantly (P < 0·05) and independently with higher overweight or obesity prevalence were female gender, low or medium parental SES, never or sometimes having breakfast, never eating at the school canteen, never having a morning snack, never or sometimes having a light afternoon meal and having high sedentary activity.
Our data confirm that low SES, absence of breakfast and high sedentary activity are associated with a higher risk of being overweight or obese, but also highlight original potential protective factors such as eating at the canteen and high meal frequency.
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