Overweight and Obesity among Preschool Children from Fars Province of Iran: Prevalence and Associated Factors

Zahra Hassanzadeh-Rostami, Elham Kavosi, Aliasghar Nasihatkon


Background: The global prevalence of overweight and obesity had risen in recent decades, and obesity is taken into consideration as a public health concern and a major risk factor of common chronic disease. The objective of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of overweight and obesity and to identify its underlying factors among children 2-6 yr of age in Fars Province, southern Iran.

Methods: A total of 8911 children, aged 2-6 yr age, were selected thorough multi-stage sampling in 30 cities of Fars Province in 2012-13. Overweight and obesity status was assessed through comparison by standard BMI for age and for sex percentiles (NCHS/CDC). In addition, socio-demographic measures obtained from structured questionnaire were compared between normal and overweight plus obese (ow/ob) groups. We used backward stepwise Logistic Regression, Chi-square and Independent sample t-test to relate the underlying factors to the nutritional indices.

Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 5.7% (95% CI: 5.2%, 6.1%) and 5.2% (95% CI: 4.7%, 5.6%), respectively. The ow/ob was significantly correlated with male sex, urbanization, type of father’s occupation, universal education of mothers, the higher birth weight, low access to household facilities, and not using health-care services (P<0.05). Besides, the logistic regression analysis showed urbanization (OR=1.46, CI: 1.26, 1.70), second sibling (OR=1.183, CI: 1.00, 1.39), and less access to a variety of food groups (OR=1.32, CI: 1.05, 1.65) as ow/ob risk factors.

Conclusions: The rate of overweight and obesity in the study population is at an alarming level. Therefore, a preventive program is needed to control ow/ob since early childhood considering the underlying factors for each region and individual groups.


Overweight; Obesity; Children; Preschool; Prevalence

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