Prevalence of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity in Thailand: A Review

Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand. 2014;97(1):44-51

Obesity in children and adolescents is a major public health problem in many countries including Thailand. However, the use of different growth references applied to the data could contribute to the difference in magnitude of the problem. This review paper aimed to examine the prevalence rate of overweight and obesity among Thai children and adolescents between 1995 and 2012. Relevant published articles and nutrition survey reports were obtained by a systematic search through multiple electronic databases published between 1995 and 2012. Of 627 published articles and reports retrieved, six national suveys were examined for the trend of childhood obesity. With the use of Thai growth references, the trends of obesity among preschool, school-age children, and adolescents were found to fluctuate between 1995 and 2009. This might be due to the difference in age categorization and use of dissimilar growth references. The use of the 2000 International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) reference provided a lower estimate of prevalence of obesity when compared to that from Thai growth reference. However, similar fluctuating pattern and trends were observed. A standard protocol using a single set of child growth standard, similar age categorization, obesity indices, and cut-points for defining high-risk children should be applied to track trend of childhood obesity effectively.

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