HealthStats NSW

Overweight and obesity in children

  • Overweight and obesity in children, NSW trends
Boys, 2015
21.5Boys, 2014
24.6Boys, 2013
21.8Boys, 2012
28.1Boys, 2011
29.9Boys, 2010
25.2Boys, 2009
21Boys, 2008
27.1Boys, 2007
25.5Girls, 2015
22.6Girls, 2014
17.9Girls, 2013
18Girls, 2012
24.8Girls, 2011
21.2Girls, 2010
21Girls, 2009
20.6Girls, 2008
22.4Girls, 2007
20.8Boys and Girls, 2015
22Boys and Girls, 2014
21.5Boys and Girls, 2013
20Boys and Girls, 2012
26.5Boys and Girls, 2011
25.7Boys and Girls, 2010
23.2Boys and Girls, 2009
20.8Boys and Girls, 2008
24.8Boys and Girls, 2007
23.2
  • + Source

    NSW Population Health Survey (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes

    Parent-reported data collected through Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI). Estimates weighted to adjust for differences in the probability of selection among respondents and benchmarked to the estimated residential population using the latest available Australian Bureau of Statistics mid-year population estimates. 

    In order to address diminishing coverage of the population by landline telephone numbers (<85% since 2010), a mobile phone number sampling frame was introduced into the 2012 survey.

  • + Commentary

    The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children has been relatively stable in NSW since 2007, with a current prevalence of 21.9% in children aged 5-16 years (2016). However, the prevalence remains high and is a cause for concern.

  • + Data Table
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  • + Methods
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    • Key points: Overweight and obesity in children

      Latest available information

      Latest available data for children in NSW

        • 21.9% of children aged 5-16 years in NSW (22.9% of boys and 20.9% of girls) were overweight or obese as estimated from the 2016 NSW Population Health Survey (self-reported using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing or CATI).

        • 27.3% of children aged 5-17 years in NSW (30.4% of boys and 22.7% of girls) were overweight or obese as estimated from the 2014-15 Australian Health Survey (measured).

      Latest available data for school students in NSW

        • 20.6% of students aged 12-17 years (24.5% of boys and 16.1% of girls) were overweight or obese as estimated from the 2014 NSW School Students Health Behaviours Survey (self-completed questionnaire).

        • 24.5% of students in years K, 2, 4, 6 and 10 (22.9% of primary school students and 27.5% of secondary school students) were overweight or obese as estimated from the 2015 NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (measured).

      Data sources

      Parent-reported data on overweight and obesity have been collected for children in NSW since 2007 through the NSW Population Health Survey. Measured data on overweight and obesity have been collected for children in NSW since 2008 through the Australian Health Survey.

      Prevalence estimates, although differing slightly between surveys because of different sampling frames, participation rates and modes of collection (telephone versus self-completed questionnaires versus face-to-face personal interview versus measured) have shown that rates have been stabilising in recent years. 

      References

      Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey. Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/australianhealthsurvey

      Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. NSW  Population Health Surveys. NSW Ministry of Health. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/surveys/Pages/default.aspx

      University of Sydney.  NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey.  Information available at: http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/9091

    • Introduction: Overweight and obesity

      High body weight as a health risk factor

      There are health problems associated with being either underweight or overweight. Although underweight can be a serious risk to health (leading to malnutrition and other health problems such as osteoporosis), public health focus is on excess body weight, as this is a much greater problem in the Australian population.

      Excess weight, especially obesity, is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, some musculoskeletal conditions and some cancers. As the level of excess weight increases, so does the risk of developing these conditions. In addition, being overweight can hamper the ability to control or manage chronic disorders.

      Excess weight in children increases the risk of poor health, both during childhood and later in adulthood. Children who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing chronic conditions such as asthma and Type 2 diabetes and may experience negative social and mental wellbeing.

      Body Mass Index (BMI)

      High and low body weight categories are determined using Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is calculated by a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of their height in metres (kg/m2). A person considered overweight or obese has a BMI of at least 25 kg/m2. For more details on the BMI, see the Methods section.

      For persons aged 18 years and over, the body weight categories are: underweight (BMI less than 18.5), healthy weight (BMI from 18.5 to 24.9), overweight (BMI from 25.0 to 29.9) and obese (BMI of 30.0 and over). Obesity was further classified into: Obesity Class I (BMI between 30.0 and 34.9), Obesity Class II (BMI between 35.0 and 39.9) and Obesity Class III (BMI of 40.0 or over).

      For children and adolescents, while the same categories to describe body weight are used, the BMI range for each category varies by individual year of age of the child and is different for boys and girls. These category ranges comply with an international standard (Cole et al. 2000; Cole et al. 2007).

      High body weight interventions

      The NSW Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy 2013-2018 provides a whole of government framework to promote and support healthy eating and active living in NSW and to reduce the impact of lifestyle-related chronic disease.

      The Strategy has four key strategic directions:

      • environments to support healthy eating and active living

      • state-wide healthy eating and active living support programs

      • healthy eating and active living advice as part of routine service delivery

      • education and information to enable informed, healthy choices.

      Useful websites

      8700 Find Your Ideal Figure. Available at http://www.8700.com.au/

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au

      Cole T, Bellizzi M, Flegal K, Dietz W. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: International survey. British Medical Journal 2000; 320. Available at http://www.bmj.com/content/320/7244/1240 (accessed 12 January 2016).

      Cole Y, Flegal K, Nicholls D, Jackson A. Body mass index cut offs to define thinness in children and adolescents: International survey. British Medical Journal 2007; 335(7612): 194. Available at http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7612/194 (accessed 12 January 2016).

      Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service. Available at http://www.gethealthynsw.com.au/

      Healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au

      Healthy Eating Active Living. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal/pages/default.aspx

      Healthy Kids, a collaboration between the NSW Ministry of Health, Department of Eduction and Training and the Heart Foundation. Available at http://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/default.aspx  

      Make Healthy Normal. Available at https://www.makehealthynormal.nsw.gov.au/

      National Health and Medical Research Council. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia. Melbourne: National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013. Available at https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n57

    • Interventions: Preventive health

      The NSW Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy 2013-2018 provides a whole of government framework to promote and support healthy eating and active living in NSW and to reduce the impact of lifestyle-related chronic disease.

      The Strategy has four key strategic directions:

      • • environments to support healthy eating and active living
      • • statewide healthy eating and active living support programs
      • • healthy eating and active living advice as part of routine service delivery
      • • education and information to enable informed, healthy choices.
    • For more information: Overweight and obesity

      Useful websites include:

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at http://www.abs.gov.au

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at http://www.aihw.gov.au

      healthdirect at http://www.healthdirect.gov.au

      National Health and Medical Research Council. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity in adults, adolescents and children in Australia. Melbourne: National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013. Available at: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines-publications/n57

      NSW Department of Education and Training and NSW Ministry of Health. Live Life Well @ School. NSW Department of Education and Training & NSW Ministry of Health website. Available at: http://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/teachers-childcare/live-life-well-@-school.aspx/index.htm

      NSW Government. Good for kids. Good for life. Available at: http://www.goodforkids.nsw.gov.au/parents-carers

      NSW Government: NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Department of Education and Training, Sport and Recreation, a division of Communities NSW and the Heart Foundation. Munch and Move. NSW Government website. Available at: http://www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au/campaigns-programs/about-munch-move.aspx

      NSW Ministry of Health. Healthy Eating Active Living. Available at: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/heal/pages/default.aspx.

Last Updated At: Wednesday, 3 May 2017