Study reveals rise in overweight, obesity among preschool Swedish children during the pandemic


The incidence of obese and weight problems in kids aged three and 4 in Sweden in the course of the pandemic, particularly in additional disadvantaged areas, a examine of simply over 25,000 kids in three Swedish counties reveals.

The examine, revealed within the European Journal of Public Well being, is predicated on knowledge regarding 25,049 kids aged three to 5 who’ve undergone common well being checks at little one well being facilities. The counties collaborating have been Dalarna, Jönköping, and Sörmland.

Earlier research on this space have usually centered on kids of college age or in nations with tighter restrictions than Sweden in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. On this nation, actions at preschool and obligatory faculty (as much as age 16) continued broadly as standard.

The examine was headed by Anton Holmgren, analysis affiliate in pediatrics at Sahlgrenska Academy, College of Gothenburg, and Anna Fäldt, researcher in little one well being and parenthood at Uppsala College.

Vital rise in BMI

The examine paperwork a statistically vital rise within the BMI (physique mass index) of three-year-olds in the course of the pandemic. Among the many ladies, the proportion with weight problems rose from 2.8 p.c earlier than to three.9 p.c in the course of the pandemic. For the boys, the corresponding proportions have been 2.4 and a couple of.6 p.c.

The proportion of three-year-old ladies with what’s normally categorised as regular weight declined from 82.6 p.c earlier than to 80.9 p.c in the course of the pandemic. There was no corresponding change in regular weight standing within the group of three-year-old boys.

Among the many four-year-olds, there was a big enhance in BMI. Weight problems rose within the ladies and boys alike: Chubby rose from 11.1 to 12.8 p.c of the ladies, whereas underweight within the boys fell from 2.0 to 1.4 p.c. The group of five-year-olds confirmed no BMI adjustments.

BMI adjustments and socioeconomic standing have been discovered to be related, most clearly amongst kids in probably the most deprived areas. There, the proportion of three- and four-year-olds with obese rose from 9.5 to 12.4 and with weight problems from 2.5 to 4.4 p.c, whereas the proportion with regular weight decreased.

Extra centered measures wanted

Socioeconomic variables have been measured utilizing a longtime methodology, the Care Want Index (CNI), which classifies anticipated care necessities based mostly on training stage; the proportion of unemployed or in labor-market packages; the proportion of single mother and father; and the proportion born exterior the western world.

“Though Sweden didn’t have a lockdown in the identical method as many different nations in the course of the pandemic, the incidence of obese and weight problems elevated in three- and four-year-olds, and even at such a younger age the socioeconomic variations are evident,” notes Anton Holmgren, the examine’s corresponding creator.

“The examine highlights the necessity for additional efforts and interventions aimed toward stopping childhood weight problems, particularly in areas of decrease socioeconomic standing,” he says.

Holmgren, a pediatrician at Halland Hospital in Halmstad, is related to analysis at College of Gothenburg, and with analysis and growth in Area Halland. Anna Fäldt belongs to the interdisciplinary analysis group Baby Well being and Parenting (CHAP) at Uppsala College and is the registrar for Sweden’s Baby Well being Companies registry (Barnhälsovårds registret, BHVQ).


Journal reference:

Fäldt, A., et al. (2022) Elevated incidence of obese and weight problems amongst preschool Swedish kids in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. European Journal of Public Well being.

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