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To study risk factors for overweight among Brazilian adolescents of low-income families.
Case–control study of obese and non-obese adolescents.
Anthropometric survey including 1420 students (aged 14–19 years) attending a public high school in São Paulo, Brazil.
Selection of 83 overweight (body mass index (BMI) >85th percentile) and 89 non-overweight (BMI >5th percentile and <85th percentile) subjects, frequency-matched by age, gender, pubertal development and socio-economic status. Among the nutritional, familial and behavioural data available, five covariates (parents' obesity, adolescents' past obesity, to have a best friend, dietary restriction and habit of napping) were included in the fitted hierarchical conditional logistic regression models.
Parents or guardians and adolescents were weighed, measured and answered a pre-tested questionnaire applied by trained nutritionists and paediatricians.
The prevalence of overweight was 15.2%. As previous risks, obese parents and obesity during infancy presented odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 2.23 (1.15–4.35) and 3.60 (1.47–8.80), respectively. As concurrent factors, the habit of napping, to have a best friend and reported dietary restriction presented OR (95% CI) of 3.43 (1.32–8.92), 5.15 (1.76–15.07) and 7.26 (2.95–17.88), respectively. Dietary patterns, frequency of obesogenic foods and other physical activity indicators presented no statistical significance.
In case–control studies, OR may overestimate the true risks. Parents' obesity and previous childhood obesity were identified as risk factors; therefore these factors should be the target for preventive programmes and policies in order to prevent the burden of obesity in the near future.
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