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Rising BMI Trends for Children Have Plateaued in Many Countries

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 11, 2017 -- Rising trends in body mass index (BMI) for children and adolescents have plateaued in many high-income countries after rising for decades but have accelerated in some parts of Asia, according to a study published online Oct. 10 in The Lancet.

Majid Ezzati, Ph.D., from Imperial College London, and colleagues pooled 2,416 population-based studies with measurements of height and weight on 128.9 million participants aged 5 years and older to estimate worldwide trends in mean BMI.

The researchers found that from 1975 to 2016 the regional change in age-standardized mean BMI in girls varied from virtually no change (−0.01 kg/m² per decade) in eastern Europe to an increase of 1 kg/m² per decade in central Latin America and an increase of 0.95 kg/m² per decade in Polynesia and Micronesia. For boys, the range was from a nonsignificant increase of 0.09 kg/m² per decade in eastern Europe to an increase of 0.77 kg/m² per decade in Polynesia and Micronesia. In northwestern Europe and the high-income English-speaking and Asia-Pacific regions, trends in mean BMI have recently flattened for both sexes, as have trends for boys in southwestern Europe and for girls in central and Andean Latin America. However, the rise in BMI has accelerated for both sexes in east and south Asia and for boys in southeast Asia.

"The rising trends in children's and adolescents' BMI have plateaued in many high-income countries, albeit at high levels, but have accelerated in parts of Asia, with trends no longer correlated with those of adults," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to AstraZeneca, which provided funding for the study.

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Posted: October 2017