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Special Issue "Obesity and Public Health"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2010)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Rachel Huxley (Website)

The George Institute, Level 10, King George V Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown, Sydney, PO Box M201, Missenden Road, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW 2050, Australia
Fax: +61 2 9993 4501
Interests: Impact of major and modifiable lifestyle risk factors (e.g. obesity, smoking, diabetes etc) on CVD and cancer outcomes
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Clifton (Website)

Principal Research Fellow National Health and Medical Research Council, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia
Interests: obesity; lipids; diabetes; heart disease

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is clear that obesity is associated with increased health risks but exactly what proportion of deaths can be directly attributed to obesity is a contentious issue. Whether being overweight adversely affects health outcomes is also the subject of much debate. Another area of considerable debate is whether the obesity epidemic has flattened off in the Western world in countries including the USA, the UK and Australia whilst increasing in developing countries. These caveats aside obesity is a major public health issue but the appropriate responses are not clear and evidence is needed as to the benefits or otherwise of current and proposed public health strategies such as social marketing, banning of advertisements, taxes on high fat foods or subsidies on or provision of free fruit and vegetables and government support of exercise and gym programs.

Prof. Dr. Peter Clifton
Guest Editor

Dr. Rachel Huxley
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • obesity
  • epidemic
  • health costs
  • mortality
  • social marketing
  • government regulation

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Parenthood—A Contributing Factor to Childhood Obesity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(7), 2800-2810; doi:10.3390/ijerph7072800
Received: 14 May 2010 / Revised: 17 June 2010 / Accepted: 28 June 2010 / Published: 30 June 2010
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (227 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prevalence of childhood obesity and its complications have increased world-wide. Parental status may be associated with children’s health outcomes including their eating habits, body weight and blood cholesterol. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the years 1988–1994, provided a unique opportunity for matching parents to children enabling analyses of joint demographics, racial differences and health indicators. Specifically, the NHANES III data, 1988–1994, of 219 households with single-parents and 780 dual-parent households were analyzed as predictors for primary outcome variables of children’s Body Mass Index (BMI), dietary nutrient intakes and blood cholesterol. Children of single-parent households were significantly (p < 0.01) more overweight than children of dual-parent households. Total calorie and saturated fatty acid intakes were higher among children of single-parent households than dual-parent households (p < 0.05). On average, Black children were more overweight (p < 0.04) than children of other races. The study results implied a strong relationship between single-parent status and excess weight in children. Further studies are needed to explore the dynamics of single-parent households and its influence on childhood diet and obesity. Parental involvement in the development of school- and community-based obesity prevention programs are suggested for effective health initiatives. Economic constraints and cultural preferences may be communicated directly by family involvement in these much needed public health programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Trends in Body Mass Index among Icelandic Adolescents and Young Adults from 1992 to 2007
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(5), 2191-2207; doi:10.3390/ijerph7052191
Received: 23 February 2010 / Revised: 27 April 2010 / Accepted: 28 April 2010 / Published: 4 May 2010
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (182 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Trends in body mass index (BMI) among 51,889 14- to 20-year-old Icelandic adolescents and young adults were examined using data from cross-sectional population surveys conducted from 1992 to 2007. Prevalence of overweight increased for both genders in all age groups, except for [...] Read more.
Trends in body mass index (BMI) among 51,889 14- to 20-year-old Icelandic adolescents and young adults were examined using data from cross-sectional population surveys conducted from 1992 to 2007. Prevalence of overweight increased for both genders in all age groups, except for 14- and 20-year-old girls. Obesity prevalence increased among boys in all age groups, except for 16-year-olds, and among 15- and 20-year-old girls. The largest increase in obesity rates among both genders was found in the oldest age group. Moreover, not only has the prevalence of obesity increased, but also the extent of obesity has grown more severe among 15- and 17-year-olds boys and among girls in the oldest age group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Publically Funded Recreation Facilities: Obesogenic Environments for Children and Families?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(5), 2208-2221; doi:10.3390/ijerph7052208
Received: 2 March 2010 / Revised: 25 April 2010 / Accepted: 27 April 2010 / Published: 4 May 2010
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (133 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing healthy food options in public venues, including recreational facilities, is a health priority. The purpose of this study was to describe the public recreation food environment in British Columbia, Canada using a sequential explanatory mixed methods design. Facility audits assessed policy, [...] Read more.
Increasing healthy food options in public venues, including recreational facilities, is a health priority. The purpose of this study was to describe the public recreation food environment in British Columbia, Canada using a sequential explanatory mixed methods design. Facility audits assessed policy, programs, vending, concessions, fundraising, staff meetings and events. Focus groups addressed context and issues related to action. Eighty-eighty percent of facilities had no policy governing food sold or provided for children/youth programs. Sixty-eight percent of vending snacks were chocolate bars and chips while 57% of beverages were sugar sweetened. User group fundraisers held at the recreation facilities also sold ‘unhealthy’ foods. Forty-two percent of recreation facilities reported providing user-pay programs that educated the public about healthy eating. Contracts, economics, lack of resources and knowledge and motivation of staff and patrons were barriers to change. Recreation food environments were obesogenic but stakeholders were interested in change. Technical support, resources and education are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Obesity in Tibetans Aged 30–70 Living at Different Altitudes under the North and South Faces of Mt. Everest
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1670-1680; doi:10.3390/ijerph7041670
Received: 11 March 2010 / Revised: 8 April 2010 / Accepted: 9 April 2010 / Published: 13 April 2010
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (419 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Risk factors for chronic diseases in Tibetans may be modified due to hypobaric hypoxia. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of obesity at varying altitudes of 1,200, 2,900 and 3,700 meters above sea-level in Tibet and Nepal; to [...] Read more.
Risk factors for chronic diseases in Tibetans may be modified due to hypobaric hypoxia. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of obesity at varying altitudes of 1,200, 2,900 and 3,700 meters above sea-level in Tibet and Nepal; to estimate the effect of altitude on body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR). Three cross-sectional studies with simple random sampling were performed on 617 men and women. BMI, WC and WHtR decreased with increasing altitude. It is likely that the physical conditions such as low temperatures and low oxygen levels have a direct catabolic effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Sitting Time and Body Mass Index, in a Portuguese Sample of Men: Results from the Azorean Physical Activity and Health Study (APAHS)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1500-1507; doi:10.3390/ijerph7041500
Received: 2 February 2010 / Revised: 13 March 2010 / Accepted: 21 March 2010 / Published: 31 March 2010
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this study was to verify the relation between body mass index (BMI) and sitting time in a sample of 4,091 Azorean men. BMI was calculated from self-reported weight and height. Total physical activity (PA) time and total sitting time were assessed with the IPAQ (short version). Linear Regression analysis showed that total sitting time (hours/day) was positively associated with BMI (B = 0.078; p < 0.001) after adjustments for age, meal frequency, alcohol and tobacco consumptions, island of residence, education level and total PA time. Although the cross sectional design precludes us from establishing causality, our findings emphasize the importance of reducing sedentary behavior to decrease the risk of obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Trends and Stabilization up to 2022 in Overweight and Obesity in Switzerland, Comparison to France, UK, US and Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(2), 460-472; doi:10.3390/ijerph7020460
Received: 15 December 2009 / Accepted: 8 February 2010 / Published: 11 February 2010
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (268 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Switzerland a rapid increase in the total overweight population (BMI ≥ 25) from 30.3% to 37.3% and in the obese segment (BMI ≥ 30) from 5.4% to 8.1% was observed between 1992 and 2007. The objective of this study is to [...] Read more.
In Switzerland a rapid increase in the total overweight population (BMI ≥ 25) from 30.3% to 37.3% and in the obese segment (BMI ≥ 30) from 5.4% to 8.1% was observed between 1992 and 2007. The objective of this study is to produce a projection until 2022 for the development of adult overweight and obesity in Switzerland based on four National Health Surveys conducted between 1992 and 2007. Based on the projection, these prevalence rates may be expected to stabilize until 2022 at the 2007 level. These results were compared with future projections estimated for France, UK, US and Australia using the same model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Validity of Self-Reported Weight and Height of Adolescents, Its Impact on Classification into BMI-Categories and the Association with Weighing Behaviour
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(10), 2696-2711; doi:10.3390/ijerph6102696
Received: 28 September 2009 / Accepted: 3 October 2009 / Published: 20 October 2009
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper investigated the validity of self-reported height and weight of adolescents for the diagnosis of underweight, overweight and obesity and the influence of weighing behaviour on the accuracy. A total of 982 adolescents reported their height, weight, weighing behaviour and eating [...] Read more.
This paper investigated the validity of self-reported height and weight of adolescents for the diagnosis of underweight, overweight and obesity and the influence of weighing behaviour on the accuracy. A total of 982 adolescents reported their height, weight, weighing behaviour and eating patterns in a questionnaire. Afterwards, their height and weight were measured and their Body Mass Index (BMI)-categories were determined using age- and gender-specific BMI cut-off points. Both girls and boys underreported their weight, whilst height was overestimated by girls and underestimated by boys. Cohen’s d indicated that these misreportings were in fact trivial. The prevalence of underweight was overestimated when using the self-reported BMI for classification, whilst the prevalence of overweight and obesity was underestimated. Gender and educational level influenced the accuracy of the adolescents’ self-reported BMI. Weighing behaviour only positively influenced the accuracy of the self-reported weight and not height or BMI. In summary, adolescents’ self-reported weight and height cannot replace measured values to determine their BMI-category, and thus the latter are highly recommended when investigating underweight, overweight and obesity in adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Obesity Prevalence in Nepal: Public Health Challenges in a Low-Income Nation during an Alarming Worldwide Trend
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(6), 2726-2744; doi:10.3390/ijerph7062726
Received: 11 May 2010 / Revised: 5 June 2010 / Accepted: 8 June 2010 / Published: 23 June 2010
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (190 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The future toll of the obesity epidemic will likely hit hardest in low- and middle-income countries. Ongoing urbanization promotes risk factors including sedentary lifestyle and fat- and sugar-laden diets. Low-income countries like Nepal experience a double disease burden: infectious diseases as well [...] Read more.
The future toll of the obesity epidemic will likely hit hardest in low- and middle-income countries. Ongoing urbanization promotes risk factors including sedentary lifestyle and fat- and sugar-laden diets. Low-income countries like Nepal experience a double disease burden: infectious diseases as well as rising incidence of noncommunicable diseases (e.g., cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus) frequently characterized by obesity. Nepal currently directs efforts towards curing disease but pays little attention to preventive actions. This article highlights obesity prevalence in Nepal, delineates the challenges identified by our pilot study (including low health literacy rates), and suggests strategies to overcome this trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessReview The Geography of Fast Food Outlets: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(5), 2290-2308; doi:10.3390/ijerph7052290
Received: 25 January 2010 / Revised: 26 April 2010 / Accepted: 30 April 2010 / Published: 6 May 2010
Cited by 47 | PDF Full-text (75 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The availability of food high in fat, salt and sugar through Fast Food (FF) or takeaway outlets, is implicated in the causal pathway for the obesity epidemic. This review aims to summarise this body of research and highlight areas for future work. [...] Read more.
The availability of food high in fat, salt and sugar through Fast Food (FF) or takeaway outlets, is implicated in the causal pathway for the obesity epidemic. This review aims to summarise this body of research and highlight areas for future work. Thirty three studies were found that had assessed the geography of these outlets. Fourteen studies showed a positive association between availability of FF outlets and increasing deprivation. Another 13 studies also included overweight or obesity data and showed conflicting results between obesity/overweight and FF outlet availability. There is some evidence that FF availability is associated with lower fruit and vegetable intake. There is potential for land use policies to have an influence on the location of new FF outlets. Further research should incorporate good quality data on FF consumption, weight and physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)
Open AccessReview Prevention of Overweight and Obesity: How Effective is the Current Public Health Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(3), 765-783; doi:10.3390/ijerph7030765
Received: 25 January 2010 / Accepted: 25 February 2010 / Published: 26 February 2010
Cited by 63 | PDF Full-text (217 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Obesity is a public health problem that has become epidemic worldwide. Substantial literature has emerged to show that overweight and obesity are major causes of co-morbidities, including type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, various cancers and other health problems, which can lead to [...] Read more.
Obesity is a public health problem that has become epidemic worldwide. Substantial literature has emerged to show that overweight and obesity are major causes of co-morbidities, including type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, various cancers and other health problems, which can lead to further morbidity and mortality. The related health care costs are also substantial. Therefore, a public health approach to develop population-based strategies for the prevention of excess weight gain is of great importance. However, public health intervention programs have had limited success in tackling the rising prevalence of obesity. This paper reviews the definition of overweight and obesity and the variations with age and ethnicity; health consequences and factors contributing to the development of obesity; and critically reviews the effectiveness of current public health strategies for risk factor reduction and obesity prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity and Public Health)

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