Children at risk of overweight and obesity
Source: Scottish Health Survey
- In 2017, 13% of children aged 2 to 15 were at risk of obesity, with a further 13% at risk of overweight.
- Since 1998, the proportion of children aged 2-15 at risk of overweight (including obesity) has fluctuated between 26% and 33%, and was 26% in 2017.
- In 2017, the figure for those at risk of overweight (including obesity) in girls was higher than for boys (29% compared to 24%), though the reverse was true prior to 2014 - however these differences were not statistically significant. The figure for those at risk of obesity in girls was higher than for boys (15% compared to 12%).
- The figure for those at risk of overweight (including obesity) was highest among those children aged 12 to 15 (33%). Of girls this age, 38% were at risk of overweight including obesity. The equivalent figure for boys of the same age was 29%.
Figure 3. Proportion of children (2-15) at risk of overweight and obesity, 1998-2017
- A higher proportion of children are at risk of obesity in Scotland's most deprived areas (13%) that in the least deprived areas (11%). The gap between rates in the most and least deprived areas has fluctuated over time, with a high of 12 percentage points in 2009. In 2017, the 3rd most deprived areas of Scotland had the highest proportion of children at risk of obesity (16%).
Figure 4. Proportion of children (2-15) at risk of obesity by area deprivation, 1998-2017
At risk of overweight (including obesity) – BMI at or above 85th percentile
At risk of obesity – BMI at or above 95th percentile.
(Based on UK 1990 reference chart cut-offs).
Breakdowns by age, gender, SIMD and long-term conditions may be possible, but not all are available annually.
Rationale for including children at risk of overweight and obesity:
These data are useful to monitor changes in the proportion of Scotland's children who are overweight and obese. Different patterns can be identified between boys and girls, between children who live in the most and least deprived areas and among children of different ages.
Factors influencing children at risk of overweight and obesity:
- Diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour are strongly associated with BMI.
- Parental BMI: children with an obese parent are significantly more likely to be at risk of being overweight including obese than both those with an overweight parent and those with no overweight parent. They are also significantly more likely to be at risk of being obese.
- Household income: boys in the lowest income households are more likely than those in other households to be obese. There is no clear association for girls.
Email: Xanthippi Gounari
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