4 years ago

Weighing in on international growth standards: testing the case in Australian preschool children

C.L. Pattinson, S.G. Trost, S.L. Staton, E.F. Sawyer, K.J. Thorpe, S.S. Smith
Overweight and obesity in preschool-aged children are major health concerns. Accurate and reliable estimates of prevalence are necessary to direct public health and clinical interventions. There are currently three international growth standards used to determine prevalence of overweight and obesity, each using different methodologies: Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and International Obesity Task Force (IOTF). Adoption and use of each method were examined through a systematic review of Australian population studies (2006–2017). For this period, systematically identified population studies (N = 20) reported prevalence of overweight and obesity ranging between 15 and 38% with most (n = 16) applying the IOTF standards. To demonstrate the differences in prevalence estimates yielded by the IOTF in comparison to the WHO and CDC standards, methods were applied to a sample of N = 1,926 Australian children, aged 3–5 years. As expected, the three standards yielded significantly different estimates when applied to this single population. Prevalence of overweight/obesity was WHO – 9.3%, IOTF – 21.7% and CDC – 33.1%. Judicious selection of growth standards, taking account of their underpinning methodologies and provisions of access to study data sets to allow prevalence comparisons, is recommended.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/obr.12581

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