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Manios, Yannis; Androutsos, Odysseas; Katsarou, Christina; Vampouli, Eleni Anna; Kulaga, Zbigniew; Gurzkowska, Beata; Lotova, Violeta; Usheva, Natalya; Cardon, Greet; Koletzko, Berthold; Moreno, Luis A.; Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse de (2018): Prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of overweight and obesity in a large Pan-European cohort of preschool children and their families: the ToyBox study. In: Nutrition, Vol. 55-56: pp. 192-198
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Abstract

Objectives: Health inequalities are observed among different regions and socioeconomic groups. The present study aimed to record the prevalence of overweight and obesity among preschoolers across six European countries in relation to sociodemographic and family factors. Methods: A total of 7554 preschool-aged children and their parents participated in the ToyBox-study. Children's weight and height were measured and parents self-reported their weight, height, and family sociodemographic data using questionnaires. Data were obtained in May and June 2012. Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity ranged from 10.0% in Germany to 20.6% in Greece and was found to be higher in children from low socioeconomic status (SES) families as well as children with two overweight or obese parents. Children from low-SES families and children with overweight or obese parents were more likely to be overweight or obese compared with their peers from medium-or high-SES families or those with normal-weight parents, respectively. Conclusions: In a large sample of European preschoolers, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be higher in Southern and Eastern European countries compared with Central and Northern European countries. Higher prevalence was recorded among low-SES families and in children with overweight or obese parents, which indicates that these areas and vulnerable groups need to be prioritized to close the gap in health and social inequalities and provide more effective prevention of early childhood obesity.