Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Welsh and Mexican school youth

Shannon R. Siegel, Non-Eleri Thomas, Stephen-Mark Cooper, Maria Peña Reyes, Eyra Cardenas Barahona, Simon P. Williams, Julien S. Baker, Bruce Davies, Robert M. Malina

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract


Overweight and obesity are emerging as global problems with both immediate and long-term health consequences.

To determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity in school youth from contrasting cultures: Wales and Mexico.

The sample included 234 Welsh children (111 males, 123 females, 12.9 ± 0.34 years) and 276 Mexican children (145 males, 131 females, 12.1 ± 0.53 years). Height and weight were measured in 2001 and 1998, respectively. The BMI was calculated. The internationally recommended age- and sex-specific cut-points for overweight and obesity (Cole et al., 2000) were used. Variation in the BMI by socioeconomic status (SES, local criteria) was also considered.

On average, the BMI does not differ between Welsh and Mexican boys (21.0 ± 4.3 kg/m2 and 20.1 ± 4.5 kg/m2, respectively), t = 1.65, p>0.05, but is significantly higher in Welsh girls (21.6 ± 4.0 kg/m2) compared to Mexican girls (20.2 ± 3.8 kg/m2), t = 2.86, p<0.01. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in both Welsh and Mexican boys is similar, 23–24% and 10–11%, respectively. Estimates are more variable among girls, specifically for overweight: 32% among Welsh girls and 20% among Mexican girls; in contrast, the prevalence of obesity is identical in the two samples of girls, 7%. Although criteria for SES are different in the two samples, based on local socioeconomic indicators, the BMI differs only between high SES samples of girls (higher in Welsh girls). Comparisons of other SES groups indicate no differences.

The BMI of Welsh girls is higher than that of Mexican girls, but does not differ between Welsh and Mexican boys. The difference between samples of girls is particularly apparent for overweight in contrast to obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S429-S429
Number of pages1
JournalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


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