Official Japanese reports significantly underestimate prevalence of overweight in school children: Inappropriate definition of standard weight and calculation of excess weight

Mikako Inokuchi, Nobutake Matsuo, John I. Takayama, Tomonobu Hasegawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The obesity epidemic in Japan continues to increase. However, the prevalence and trends of obesity have not explicitly been determined in Japanese children. Aim: The study estimated the trend and prevalence of overweight in Japanese school children, 1980-2001. Subjects and methods: The 2001 cross-sectional national survey on 334,939 boys and 335,204 girls, 5-18 years of age was studied, using the 1978-1981 references. Main outcome measures were proportion of children with BMI ≥95th centile and those with ≥ + 20% excess body weight. Results: The prevalence of overweight increased 2.6 times (5.0% to 12.9%) in Japanese boys and 2.5 times (5.0% to 12.5%) in Japanese girls during the last two decades as assessed by using BMI, whereas the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science and Technology reported a much smaller increment in prevalence (5.8% to 9.2% in boys, 5.6% to 8.0% in girls, respectively) using the same data but based on a cut-off value of ≥ + 20% excess body weight. Conclusion: Official governmental reports significantly underestimate the current epidemic of obesity in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar

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Weights and Measures
Obesity
Japan
Body Weight
Sports
Cross-Sectional Studies
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Technology
Education

Keywords

  • BMI
  • Cross sectional data
  • Height specific standard
  • Obesity
  • Trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Ageing
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology

Cite this

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abstract = "Background: The obesity epidemic in Japan continues to increase. However, the prevalence and trends of obesity have not explicitly been determined in Japanese children. Aim: The study estimated the trend and prevalence of overweight in Japanese school children, 1980-2001. Subjects and methods: The 2001 cross-sectional national survey on 334,939 boys and 335,204 girls, 5-18 years of age was studied, using the 1978-1981 references. Main outcome measures were proportion of children with BMI ≥95th centile and those with ≥ + 20{\%} excess body weight. Results: The prevalence of overweight increased 2.6 times (5.0{\%} to 12.9{\%}) in Japanese boys and 2.5 times (5.0{\%} to 12.5{\%}) in Japanese girls during the last two decades as assessed by using BMI, whereas the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science and Technology reported a much smaller increment in prevalence (5.8{\%} to 9.2{\%} in boys, 5.6{\%} to 8.0{\%} in girls, respectively) using the same data but based on a cut-off value of ≥ + 20{\%} excess body weight. Conclusion: Official governmental reports significantly underestimate the current epidemic of obesity in Japan.",
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