International Journal of Obesity
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August 2002, Volume 26, Number 8, Pages 1036-1045
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Obesity in children and adolescents in Cyprus. Prevalence and predisposing factors
S C Savva1, Y Kourides1, M Tornaritis1, M Epiphaniou-Savva1, C Chadjigeorgiou1 and A Kafatos2

1Research and Education Foundation of Child Health, Cyprus

2Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Clinic, Department of Social Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Greece

Correspondence to: S C Savva, 138 Limassol Ave. no. 205, 2015 Strovolos, Cyprus. E-mail:


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity in Cyprus and define possible associated risk factors.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of a representative sample of children 6-17 y of age performed during October 1999 to June 2000.

METHODS: Anthropometric data were taken using standard methods, from 2467 children. Certain diet and physical activities as well as other socioeconomic family parameters were assessed with the aid of a questionnaire. Obesity and overweight were defined using both the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) I definition and the newer International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) definition. Logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate the influence of various parameters.

RESULTS: The prevalence of obesity in males was 10.3% and in females 9.1% using the NHANES I definition and 6.9 and 5.7%, respectively, using the IOTF definition. The percentages presented a decreasing trend with age. There were an additional 16.9% of males and 13.1% of females defined as overweight with the NHANES I definition and 18.8 and 17.0%, respectively, using the IOTF definition. The most significant associated factor for obesity was parental obesity status. The odds ratio for offspring obesity when both parents were obese ranged from 11.34 (95% CI 1.83-75.50) in females 6 to 11-y-old to 18.09 (95% CI 2.06-158.81) for males 12 to 17-y-old.

CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity was estimated for the first time in a representative sample from Cyprus, and this rate is comparable to that observed in North America. These results indicate the need for individual and population measures for the treatment and prevention of pediatric obesity. The rate of obesity differs significantly depending on the method of estimation.

International Journal of Obesity (2002) 26, 1036-1045. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802042


obesity; overweight; children; adolescents; Cyprus

Received 8 October 2001; revised 28 January 2001; accepted 13 March 2002
August 2002, Volume 26, Number 8, Pages 1036-1045
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Full text  PDF