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Table 1 Examples of international obesity rates; different definitions, ages and dates – males and females

From: Gendered dimensions of obesity in childhood and adolescence

Country Survey/data Definition Age(s) Date(s) % males % females Reference
North America        
United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys US National Center for Health Statistics (1979) weight for length (children younger than 3) and weight for stature curves > 95th percentile < 1 1976–80 4.0 6.2 Ogden, Troiano & Briefel et al, 1997 [134]
     1988–94 7.5 10.8  
    4–5 1976–80 4.4 7.6  
     1988–94 5.0 10.8  
United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys US Centers for Disease Control 2000 charts (CDC 2000) [135], >= 95th percentile 6–11 1976–80 6.6 6.4 Baskin, Ard & Franklin et al, 2005 [136]
     1999–2002 16.9 14.7  
    12–19 1976–80 4.8 5.3  
     1999–2002 16.7 15.4  
Canada Nationally representative surveys (1981 Canada Fitness Survey; 1996 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth) International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) [137] 'obesity' 7–13 1981 2.0 2.0 Tremblay, Katzmarzyk & Willms, 2002 [138]
     1996 10.0 9.0  
Trinidad and Tobago Nationally representative cross-sectional schools-based survey IOTF 'obesity' 5–6 1999 1.7 2.4 Gulliford, Mahabir Rocke et al (2001) [139]
    8–9   3.0 2.5  
Martinique Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 14 1999 6.3 4.8 Benefice, Caiius & Garnier (2003) [140]
South America        
Chile School census data IOTF 'obesity' 6 1987 1.8 2.1 Kain, Uauy & Vio et al, 2002 [141]
     2000 7.2 7.5  
   CDC 2000 >= 95th percentile 6 1987 5.1 4.0  
     2000 14.7 15.8  
Mexico Schools-based surveys CDC 2000 >= 95th percentile 11–14 1998–99 12.9 10.8 Salazar-Martinez, Allen & Fernandez-Ortega et al (2006) [142]
    15–19   8.0 4.9  
Australia        
Australia National surveys (1985 Australian Health & Fitness Survey; 1995 National Nutrition Survey) IOTF 'obesity' 7–11 1985 1.5 1.9 Magarey, Daniels & Boulton, 2001 [143]
     1995 3.7 6.3  
    12–15 1985 1.9 1.3  
     1995 6.1 4.4  
Europe        
England National Study of Health and Growth (independent cross-sectional surveys) IOTF 'obesity' 4–11 1974 1.4 1.5 Chinn & Rona, 2001 [144]
     1994 1.7 2.6  
Scotland     1974 1.7 1.9  
     1994 2.1 3.2  
England Health Survey for England United Kingdom (UK90) charts [145] >= 95th percentile 2–10 1995 9.6 10.3 National Health Service Information Centre, 2006 [146]
     2004 16.2 11.9  
    11–15 1995 13.5 15.4  
     2004 23.7 26.2  
Scotland Scottish Health Survey UK90 >= 95th percentile 12–15 1998 15.6 15.2 Scottish Public Health Observatory, 2007 [147]
     2003 20.9 14.7  
Northern Ireland Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 12 1989–90 4.0 1.6 Watkins, Murray & McCarron et al, 2005 [148]
     2000 4.7 4.7  
    15 1989–90 0.4 3.9  
     2000 3.1 4.8  
France Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 7–9 2000 3.9 3.6 Rolland-Cachera, Casetbon & Arnault et al, 2002 [149]
   CDC 2000 >= 95th percentile    7.5 5.2  
Spain Cross-sectional surveys in randomly selected schools IOTF 'obesity' 6–14 1980 1.5 1.4 Moreno, 2001 [150]
     1995 2.1 3.3  
Portugal Schools-based surveys IOTF' obesity' 7–9 2002–03 10.3 12.3 Padez, Fernandes & Mourao, 2004 [151]
Italy Schools-based surveys in North (N) and South (S) Italy IOTF 'obesity' 2–6 2002 5.7 (N) 5.8 (N) Maffeis, Consolaro & Cavarzere et al, 2006 [152]
      12.3 (S) 10.7 (S)  
Sicily, Italy Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 11 1999–2001 13.1 10.7 Baratta, Degano & Leonardi et al, 2006 [153]
    15   7.2 5.0  
Greece Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 6–11 1994 9.4 8.3 Papadimitriou, Kounadi & Konstantinidou et al, 2006 [154]
     2005 12.3 9.9  
Greece Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 7–10 2002–03 * 16.0 13.4 Tokmakidis, Kasambalis & Christodoulos, 2006 [155]
Finland Nationally representative Adolescent Health and Lifestyle Survey IOTF 'obesity' 12 1977 2.0 0.9 Kautiainen, 2005 [156]
     2003 3.1 1.9  
    16 1977 0.8 0.3  
     2003 4.2 2.1  
Denmark Nationally representative samples IOTF 'obesity' 14–16 1971–72 0.4 0.9 Kautiainen, 2005 [156]
     1996–97 2.0 2.6  
East Germany Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 5–7 1992–93 4.7 3.5 Frye & Heinrich, 2003 [157]
     1998–99 2.7 4.8  
    11–14 1992–93 2.8 3.5  
     1998–99 7.1 7.9  
Poland Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 7–9 2001 3.6 3.7 Malecka-Tendera, Klimek & Matusik et al, 2005 [158]
Russia Nationally representative household survey IOTF 'obesity' 6–9 1992 9.5 11.2 Wang & Wang, 2002 [159]
    10–18   2.4 1.3  
   US Must, Dallal & Dietz 1991 (MDD) charts [160], >= 95th percentile 6–9   13.2 15.9  
    10–18   3.1 1.6  
Russia Nationally representative household surveys CDC 2000 >= 95th percentile 7–13 1995 6.2 3.0 Tudor-Locke, Ainsworth & Popkin, in press [161]
     2002 4.2 3.1  
Africa        
Egypt Schools-based surveys CDC 2000 >= 95th percentile 11–14 1997 6.6 7.6 Salazar-Martinez, Allen & Fernandez-Ortega et al, 2006 [142]
    15–19   5.9 8.6  
Senegal Survey of members of birth cohort IOTF 'obesity' 12–17 1998–2000 0.0 0.0 Benefice, Caiius & Garnier, 2003 [140]
South Africa Primary School Surveys IOTF 'obesity' 8 1994–95 0.4 0.6 Jinabhai, Taylor & Sullivan, 2003 [162]
Asia        
Saudi Arabia Cross-sectional survey of children from randomly selected households IOTF 'obesity' 1–18 1994–98 6.0 6.7 El-Hazmi & Warsy, 2002 [163]
Qatar Schools-based surveys MDD >= 95th percentile 7 2002 1.6 5.4 Qotba & Al-Isa, 2007 [164]
Bahrain Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 12–17 2000 14.9 17.9 Al-Sendi, Shetty & Musaiger, 2003 [165]
   MDD >= 95th percentile    16.5 20.2  
Japan Annual cross-sectional household surveys IOTF 'obesity' 6–8 1976–80 1.8 1.8 Matsushita, Yoshiike & Kaneda et al, 2004 [166]
     1996–2000 4.6 4.6  
    12–14 1976–80 1.0 0.5  
     1996–2000 2.7 1.0  
Korea National survey >120% ideal body weight 0–19 2001 15.1 10.2 Kim, Ahn & Nam, 2005 [167]
Taiwan Schools-based surveys >120% ideal body weight 12–15 1980–82 12.4 10.1 Chu, 2001 [168]
     1994–96 16.4 11.1  
China – Beijing Schools-based surveys in Beijing (B) and Shanghai (S) BMI classification reference provided by Working Group on Obesity in China 7–18 1985 1.2 (B) 1.1 (B) Ji, 2007 [169]
      1.1 (S) 0.4 (S)  
     2000 10.0 (B) 5.2 (B)  
      7.2 (S) 4.1 (S)  
China Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 13–14 2002 2.6 1.5 Xie, Chou & Spruijt-Metz et al, 2007 [170]
    16–17   4.3 1.0  
China Schools-based surveys IOTF 'obesity' 11–17 2004 5.0 2.1 Li, Dibley & Sibbritt et al, 2006 [32]
Punjab, India Schools-based surveys of children from affluent families IOTF 'obesity' 6–11 2002 * 5.9 6.3 Sidhu, Kaur & Kaur, 2006 [171]
India Schools-based surveys Triceps skinfold thickness >= 90th percentile 9–15 1998 * 12.4 9.9 Chhatwal, Verma & Kaur, 2004 [172]
  1. * survey dates provided by authors (personal communication).