Tunisian children reference for body mass index and prevalence of obesity.Tunis Med. 2008 Oct; 86(10):906-11.TM
The prevalence of obesity in children is known to be increasing rapidly worldwide but few population-based surveys have been undertaken in North Africa and in the Middle East.
Report the means of body mass index with values corresponding to the different percentiles in boys and girls by age from a large nationally representative sample of the Tunisian children population. The second aim was to estimate the prevalence of obesity and over weight in children and adolescent using the 85th and 95th body mass index percentile respectively derived from the U.S.A. first National Health and Nutrition Survey and also the International cut off points for body mass index for overweight and obesity proposed by the International Obesity Task Force and Rolland Cachera.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS
We have used data from the Tunisian National Nutrition Survey, a cross sectional health study providing a large nationally representative sample of the Tunisian population including 3885 children and adolescent.
The mean of BMI was of 16,63 +/- 2,58 Kg/m2 among boys and 17.36 +/- 3.52 Kg/m in girls. The BMI increased with age and more precociously in girls (10 years) that in boys (13-14 years). The mean+2SD of the BMI approached the 95th percentile. It is noticed that our 85th percentile and 95th percentile as well in the girls and in boys were lower than the same percentiles of the children of other countries (NHANES I, IOTF) and that our 97th percentile is higher than that of the French according to tables of Roland Cachera. By conside ring the NHANES I and the IOTF, the prevalence of obesity were rather weak (<5%) but high according to the tables of Roland Cachera (3 to 11%).
The prevalence of obesity was low in 1996 according to references' of the NHANES I and IOTF but high according to tables' of Roland Cachera. Prevention of obesity by a healthy way of life remains the most effective means in the long and undoubtedly less expensive realizing programs of regular monitoring.