1Divisione di Pediatria e di Adolescentologia, Azienda Universitaria-Ospedaliera di Ferrara
2Nutrizione, Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica, AUSL di Bologna
3Dipartimento di Fisica Sanitaria, Azienda Universitaria-Ospedaliera di Ferrara
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Key words: Paediatric Obesity, Assessment, Growth Charts, Body Mass Index
Objectives - The high incidence of obesity registered among children worldwide urgently requests the identification of simple, shared instruments for early diagnosis and treatment. The aims of our study were to illustrate how the choice of growth curves can influence this objective and to evaluate the opportunity of using the growth curves proposed by World Health Organization (WHO) for subjects 5-19 years of age. Methods - Using anthropometric data from a nutritional survey conducted on 2,804 children from preschools, primary, and secondary schools in Bologna, we calculated BMIz-scores according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Luciano’s, the Italian Society of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology (SIEDP) and the WHO growth curves. Results - The percentage of overweight or moderate/severe obese children varied according to the different growth curves. It is higher with WHO growth standards, especially in preschool and primary school children. The discordance is more significant between SIEDP and WHO growth curves. Conclusions - Recent Italian SIEDP growth curves underestimate the incidence of overweight/ obesity in our population and therefore do not meet the goal of early identifying patients for preventive/therapeutic programmes. The WHO growth curves may be more helpful, although this also means treating a higher number of children with presumably efficacious and safe programmes.
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