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To assess the prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity in French children from 2013 to 2017.
Cross-sectional study performed in fourteen regions of France. Physical measures included weight, height and BMI. Underweight, overweight and obesity were defined according to age- and sex-specific BMI cut-off points from the International Obesity Task Force.
Children (10 159 boys, 9757 girls) from the voluntary, non-representative Diagnoform programme between 2013 and 2017, at the age of 4–12 years.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity was higher in girls compared with boys (P < 0·001). Underweight was also more prevalent in girls (P < 0·05). Although there were no significant changes in the prevalence of obesity in boys or girls from 2013 to 2017, a significant decrease in overweight among boys and girls was found (P < 0·001) during the same time period. In contrast, the prevalence of underweight increased in girls and boys (from 10·0 to 20·0 %, P < 0·0001) between 2013 and 2017.
Results of the current study show that the prevalence of obesity was stable, while the prevalence of overweight decreased significantly, despite high in French children. Findings suggest also that thinness is becoming an important phenomenon in children. Developing preventive and nutritional programmes in order to modify the lifestyle might help control underweight and obesity in children.
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