Overweight, obesity, and thinness among a nationally representative sample of Norwegian adolescents and changes from childhood: Associations with sex, region, and population density

Bente Øvrebø*, Ingunn H Bergh, Tonje H Stea, Elling Bere, Pål Surén, Per M Magnus, Petur B Juliusson, Andrew K Wills

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and thinness among Norwegian 13-year-olds and the changes from childhood (age 8 years) to adolescence (age 13 years); and to explore associations with sex, region, and population density from childhood to adolescence.

DESIGN: We used longitudinal, anthropometric data collected by school health nurses conducted in Norway. Weight status was classified according to the International Obesity Task Force cut-offs for overweight, obesity, and thinness, and according to mean body mass index (kg/m2).

PARTICIPANTS: The Norwegian Youth Growth Study, consisting of a nationally representative sample of Norwegian 13-year-olds (n = 1852; 50.7% girls), which is a part of The Norwegian Growth Cohort.

RESULTS: Among 13-year-old Norwegians, the prevalence of overweight (including obesity), obesity, and thinness was 15.8%, 2.5%, and 7.3%, respectively. There was little evidence that these had changed from 8 to 13 years. From 8 to 13 years, the odds of obesity was highest in the Northern region of Norway compared to the South-East (odds ratio (OR): 3.78 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 12.65; p = 0.036) and in rural areas (OR: 4.76 (95% CI: 1.52, 14.90; p = 0.027). Over the same age period, girls had a trend towards a higher odds of thinness compared to boys (OR: 1.65 (95% CI: 0.98, 2.78; p = 0.057).

CONCLUSIONS: In Norway, the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and thinness among 13-year-olds seem to be established by age 8 years. The prevalence of obesity was higher in the North and in rural areas. The results indicate the continued need for early prevention and treatment, and targeted interventions to certain areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0255699
Pages (from-to)e0255699
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 ∅vrebø et al.

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