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20-year trends in prevalence of overweight and obesity among children aged 0-6 in Harbin, China: A multiple cross-sectional study.

  • Liu, Wei1
  • Li, Qin2
  • Li, Hui3
  • Li, Jia4
  • Wang, Hai-Jun2
  • Li, Bin1
  • 1 Department of Social Medicine, School of Public Health, Harbin Medical University, Harbin, China. , (China)
  • 2 Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 3 Department of Growth and Development, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 4 Harbin Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital, Harbin, China. , (China)
Published Article
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2018
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0198032
PMID: 29864123


To examine the 20-year trends in the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity among children aged 0-6 years between 1995 and 2015 in Harbin, China, we selected altogether 49,553 children aged 0-6 years old by using a multistage stratified cluster sampling methods in Harbin, one provincial capital city in northeast China in 1995, 2005 and 2015. Height and weight information of the children were collected. We used the child growth standards of World Health Organization to calculate the Z-scores for body mass index (BMI). Cut-offs recommended by World Health Organization and International Obesity Task Force were used to define overweight and obesity for each children. We found there is no difference between boys' BMI and girls' among newborns in each survey point (p>0.05), but in older age groups, the BMI of boys was higher than that of girls (p<0.05). From 1995 to 2015, the average BMI was increasing continuously among boys older than 42 months and girls older than 48 months (p<0.01 for linear trend across year) in Harbin. The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity increased from 2.6% in 1995 to 7.6% in 2015. For every 10-year the risk of combined overweight and obesity in children aged 0-6 years increased by 167% (95%CI: 146%, 188%, p<0.01). The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity in most age subgroups showed an increasing trend over time (p<0.01 for trend test across survey year). The age when the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity dramatically increased was earlier in 2015 than that in 2005 and 1995. In conclusion, there was an increasing trend of the combined prevalence of overweight and obesity during the past 20 years in Harbin and the age when the prevalence dramatically increased became earlier. Comprehensive intervention should be undertaken among younger children to prevent and control children's overweight and obesity.

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