First lessons from the Kiel Obesity Prevention Study (KOPS).Int J Obes (Lond) 2005; 29 Suppl 2:S78-83IJ
Prevention of obesity is a public health agenda. There are only few longitudinal studies on prevention of overweight in children. The Kiel Obesity Prevention Study (KOPS) intends to characterise the determinants of childhood overweight and the effect of preventive measures within schools as well as within families.
Between 1996 and 2005, KOPS investigated 4997 German 5-7 and 4487 9-11-y-old children or 41 and 37% of the total population of all first and fourth graders in 32 primary schools in Kiel (248 000 inhabitants), northwest Germany. Main outcome measures were nutritional status, health habits and risk factors of disease. In addition, health promotion was performed each year in three schools for all first graders and their teachers (nutrition education and active school breaks) together with a family-oriented approach in families with obese and preobese children. Up to now, the children were followed for 4y and were reinvestigated at age 10 y.
The KOPS population was representative for all 5-7 and 9-11-y-old children in Kiel. The prevalence of overweight/ obesity (> or = 90th/97th BMI reference percentile) was 7.0/5.8 and 11.3/6.3% in 5-7 and 9-11-y-old children, respectively. Parental overweight, a low socio-economic status and a high birth weight were identified as main risk factors for overweight in prepubertal children. The first results of the interventions show that obesity prevention was possible, but there were limited success rates in boys and children from low social class.
Faced with the environmental contributors to the obesity problem societal rather than individual responsibilities are evident. This idea suggests that dissecting and tackling the obesogenic environment is necessary to complement school- and family-based interventions.