Overweight and Obesity Prevalence in Young Children Living in Athens

Anastasia-Evangelia Afthentopoulou, Vassiliki Kaioglou and Fotini Venetsanou*

Overweight and Obesity Prevalence in Young Children Living in Athens.

In recent decades, the prevalence of obesity has reached alarming levels worldwide, having affected not only adults3,4 but also children.5,6 There are several studies reporting an upward trend of childhood obesity over the years in several countries, like New Zealand, USA,8 Brazil, China and Taiwan. This global trend has affected European countries too, with the British islands and the countries in the Mediterranean region presenting the highest rates of overweight and obesity in pre-school age.

Due to the aforementioned negative consequences on children’s life quality, the epidemiological aspects of childhood obesity have strongly worried the research community, while many countries have set childhood obesity as a major public health issue. A positive result of the society’s sensitivity on the issue of obesity, given the several recent research findings, may be the likelihood of decrease or stabilization in childhood obesity prevalence.

Greece is a small country in the Mediterranean region facing the problem of obesity. Moreover in the last decade, the country undergoes a financial crisis that may have affected childhood obesity prevalence, through changes in children’s dietary habits. However, in the last decade, very few studies investigating obesity prevalence in pre-school or older children have been conducted in Greece.

Taking into consideration that childhood and adolescence seem to be the most critical periods for the development of obesity, as well as that obesity appears to occur as early as children enter kindergarten and it is difficult to reverse in older children and adults,55 its timely prevention is of great importance.

Public Health Open J. 2017; 2(1): 26-32. doi: 10.17140/PHOJ-2-117