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MEDICINA DELLO SPORT

A Journal on Sports Medicine


Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2008 September;61(3):365-72

language: English, Italian

The trend of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents in relation to physical exercise

Gelonesi F., Catalano G., Monea P., Flachi A., Attinà G., Piromalli S., Roberto D., Attinà D.

Sports Medicine Unit, ASL 11, Reggio Calabria, Italy


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Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate the trend of prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents.
Methods. Datasets from 1995, 2000, and 2005 were compared to evaluate the prevalence of overweight and obesity in relation to physical exercise in a sample population of 12-17-year-olds.
Results. The prevalence of obesity in the sample population rose from 7.1% in 1995 to 9.2% in 2000 to 9.6% in 2005. The prevalence of obesity amongst the males increased from 7.3% to 9.5% to 10.7%; it increased from 11.9% to 14.5%. to 17.6% amongst the sedentary males and from 5.9% to 7.8% to 8.1% amongst the physically active males. Amongst the females, it increased from 6.5% to 7.8%, then declined to 6.2%; the prevalence of obesity amongst the sedentary females rose from 9.7% to 11.1%, then declined to 9.7%; amongst the physically active females it rose from 5.4% to 6.3%, then declined 4.8%. The prevalence of overweight in the sample population rose from 12% in 1995 to 12.8% in 2000 to 12.6% in 2005. The prevalence amongst the sedentary males rose from 13.9% to 15% to 15.8% and from 10.7% to 11.4% to 11.7% amongst the physically active males. The prevalence amongst the sedentary females increased from 14.5% to 15.3%, and then remained unchanged; the prevalence amongst the physically active females rose slightly from 14.1% to 14.4%, and then declined to 10.2%.
Conclusion. Physical exercise seems have a “slow-down” effect on the trend of obesity that was noticeable already among the females between 1995 and 2000, whereas amongst the males it manifested itself between 2000 and 2005. A slightly declining trend in the prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst the sedentary females was also apparent.

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