Public Health Nutrition

Monitoring and surveillance

Tracking excess weight and obesity from childhood to young adulthood: a 12-year prospective cohort study in Slovenia

Gregor Starca1 c1 and Janko Strela1

a1 Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Gortanova 22, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Abstract

Objective The objective was to examine the tracking of obesity from childhood to young adulthood in Slovenia.

Subjects A subsample included 4833 children from the Slovenian national sample (n 21 777) who were included in the SLOFIT monitoring system from 1997 to 2008, with complete data at 7 years and 18 years.

Design A 12-year prospective cohort study. Height, weight and triceps skinfold thickness (TSF) were measured at 7, 11, 14 and 18 years. The BMI cut-off points of the International Obesity Taskforce were used to identify excess weight and obesity.

Setting The survey was conducted in Slovenian primary and secondary schools from 1988 to 2008 but only the data from the measurements in 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2008 are presented.

Results Height, weight and BMI at 18 years were well predicted from childhood and became more predictable with age, while TSF was not. Obese and overweight children had the greatest risk of becoming obese or overweight young adults. The history of their weight shows that 40·0 % of males and 48·6 % of females who were obese at 18 years had already been obese at 7 years.

Conclusions Overweight or obese Slovenian children are more likely to become overweight or obese adolescents and young adults than reported in other similar European and American studies, which indicates the need for early prevention and treatment of excess weight and obesity.

(Received April 20 2009)

(Accepted February 28 2010)

(Online publication April 15 2010)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email gregor.starc@guest.arnes.si

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