Natalija Smetanina, Edita Albaviciute, Veslava Babinska, Lina Karinauskiene, Ausra Petrauskiene and Rasa Verkauskiene contributed equally to this work.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
NS: performed measurements of 10–17 years old schoolchildren and contributed to database formation, conducted primary statistical analyses, wrote the draft of the manuscript and corrected the manuscript according to comments of co-authors. EA: performed measurements of primary schoolchildren and contributed to database creation, conducted primary statistical analyses and interpretation of the results, co-author of the methods and results in the draft of the manuscript. VB: performed measurements of 10–17 years old schoolchildren and participated to database creation as well as contributed to writing of the draft of manuscript. LK: performed measurements of 10–17 years old schoolchildren and participated to database creation as well as contributed to writing of the draft of manuscript. KAW: growth expert, project scientific consultant, gave valuable comments to the project model and data interpretation. AP: designed study and performed research of primary schoolchildren, discussed data interpretation, commented and corrected the draft of the manuscript. RV: initiated, designed and supervised the project, provided statistical expertise, gave valuable comments to the draft of the manuscript and approved the final version of manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Until recently increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among pediatric population in Europe and worldwide contributes to major well-known risks for metabolic consequences in later life. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight/obesity among children and adolescents in Lithuania and assess its association with energy balance related behaviors as well as familial demographic and socioeconomic factors.
Cross-sectional study included 3990 7–17 years old schoolchildren from 40 schools of Kaunas region, Lithuania. Study participants underwent anthropometric measurements. Body mass index (BMI) was evaluated according to International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria for children and adolescents. Children and adolescents and their parents filled in the questionnaires on parental sociodemographic characteristics, dietary habits, TV watching time, and family socioeconomic status.
The prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity among boys and girls was 6.9 and 11.7 % (P < 0.05), 12.6 and 12.6 % (P > 0.05), and 4.9 and 3.4 % (P < 0.05), respectively. Obesity was significantly more prevalent in the 7–9 years old group (6.7 and 4.8 % in boys and girls, respectively, P < 0.05). Lower meals frequency and breakfast skipping were directly associated with overweight/obesity (P < 0.05); however, physical inactivity was not associated with higher BMI. Children‘s overweight/obesity was directly associated with lower paternal education and unemployment (OR 1.30, P = 0.013 and OR 1.56, P = 0.003, respectively).
The prevalence of overweight and obesity among 7–17 years old Lithuanian children and adolescents was more prevalent in younger age, still being one of the lowest across the European countries. Meals frequency, breakfast skipping, paternal education and unemployment as well as a family history of arterial hypertension were found to be associated with children’s and adolescents’ overweight/obesity.