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Open AccessArticle

Overweight and Obesity in Portuguese Children: Prevalence and Correlates

CIFI2D, Kinanthropometry Lab, Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Rua Dr. Plácido Costa, 91, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, 6400 Perkins Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA
CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education of Brazil, Brasília DF 70040-020, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(11), 11398-11417;
Received: 10 September 2014 / Revised: 22 October 2014 / Accepted: 27 October 2014 / Published: 3 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
PDF [1015 KB, uploaded 3 November 2014]


There are widespread differences in overweight/obesity prevalence in children, and understanding the reasons for this is very important. The present study aims: (I) to conduct a meta-analysis on overweight/obesity prevalence in Portuguese children; (II) to identify differences in biological and behavioural characteristics between normal-weight and overweight/obese children; and (III) to investigate the importance of individual- and school-level correlates of variation in children’s BMI using multilevel modelling. A search was done for all published papers including Portuguese children during the last decade; further, 686 Portuguese children (9–11 years old) were sampled and their BMI, family income, maturity offset, nutritional habits, physical activity, sedentariness, sleep time, and school environment information were collected. Results showed a stabilization of overweight/obesity during the last decade, 30.6% (95%CI: 0.287–0.34) for boys, 28.4% (95%CI: 0.23–0.35) for girls, and 30.3% (95%CI: 0.27–0.34) for boys and girls together. Differences between weight groups were only found in individual-level biological traits. The multilevel analysis did not identify significant contributions of school-level variables to children’s BMI variation. In conclusion, no increase was found in the prevalence of overweight/obesity among Portuguese children since 2000. Normal-weight and overweight/obese children only differ in individual-level characteristics, and school context variables were not related to variation in BMI. View Full-Text
Keywords: overweight; obesity; children; school; correlates overweight; obesity; children; school; correlates

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Gomes, T.N.; Katzmarzyk, P.T.; Dos Santos, F.K.; Souza, M.; Pereira, S.; Maia, J.A.R. Overweight and Obesity in Portuguese Children: Prevalence and Correlates. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 11398-11417.

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