Evidence that the prevalence of childhood overweight is plateauing: Data from nine countries

Tim Olds, Carol Maher, Shi Zumin, Sandrine Péneau, Sandrine Lioret, Katia Castetbon, Bellisle, Jeroen De Wilde, Maea Hohepa, Ralph Maddison, Lauren Lissner, Agneta Sjöberg, Michael Zimmermann, Isabelle Aeberli, Cynthia Ogden, Katherine Flegal, Carolyn Summerbell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

439 Citations (Scopus)


Until quite recently, there has been a widespread belief in the popular media and scientific literature that the prevalence of childhood obesity is rapidly increasing. However, high quality evidence has emerged from several countries suggesting that the rise in the prevalence has slowed appreciably, or even plateaued. This review brings together such data from nine countries (Australia, China, England, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and USA), with data from 467,294 children aged 219 years. The mean unweighted rate of change in prevalence of overweight and obesity was +0.00 (0.49)% per year across all age ×sex groups and all countries between 1995 and 2008. For overweight alone, the figure was +0.01 (0.56)%, and for obesity alone -0.01 (0.24)%. Rates of change differed by sex, age, socioeconomic status and ethnicity. While the prevalence of overweight and obesity appears to be stabilizing at different levels in different countries, it remains high, and a significant public health issue. Possible reasons for the apparent flattening are hypothesised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-360
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Obesity
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2011


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • International
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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