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11.05.2019 | Review Article | Ausgabe 4/2019

World Journal of Pediatrics 4/2019

Childhood obesity in New Zealand

World Journal of Pediatrics > Ausgabe 4/2019
Valentina Chiavaroli, John D. Gibbins, Wayne S. Cutfield, José G. B. Derraik
Wichtige Hinweise

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Paediatric obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, resulting in significant adverse effects on health and wellbeing. Early life events, including those that happen before, during, and after pregnancy can predispose children to later obesity. The purpose of this review is to examine the magnitude of obesity among New Zealand children and adolescents, and to determine their underlying risk factors and associated comorbidities.

Data sources

PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar searches were performed using the key terms “obesity”, “overweight”, “children”, “adolescents”, and “New Zealand”.


Obesity is a major public health concern in New Zealand, with more than 33% of children and adolescents aged 2–14 years being overweight or obese. Obesity disproportionately affects Māori (New Zealand’s indigenous population) and Pacific children and adolescents, as well as those of lower socioeconomic status. New Zealand’s obesity epidemic is associated with numerous health issues, including cardiometabolic, gastrointestinal, and psychological problems, which also disproportionately affect Māori and Pacific children and adolescents. Notably, a number of factors may be useful to identify those at increased risk (such as demographic and anthropometric characteristics) and inform possible interventions.


The prevalence of overweight and obese children and adolescents in New Zealand is markedly high, with a greater impact on particular ethnicities and those of lower socioeconomic status. Alleviating the current burden of pediatric obesity should be a key priority for New Zealand, for the benefit of both current and subsequent generations. Future strategies should focus on obesity prevention, particularly starting at a young age and targeting those at greatest risk.

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