Using international cut off points proposed by Cole et al
in children should not be delayed until adulthood when
the pathophysiological changes associated with over-
weight and obesity are more likely to be established.
The best approach is prevention which should be
targeted at pre school and school children including
physical activity (cardiovascular fitness), nutritional
education (teaching children critical aspect of quality
nutrition, to reduce intake of high caloric low nutrition
foods) and behavior modification (change eating habits
and increase habitual physical activity). These preven-
tive8measures have previously been found to be effec-
this study documented a prevalence rate of 6.4% and
.7% for overweight and obesity respectively. This
prevalence of obesity is much lower than the2prevalence
of obesity among United States of America and Saudi
Arabia . Previous studies in Nigeria did not distin-
guish between overweight and obesity and different cut
off points for obesity were used. These could have
caused the differences observed in the prevalence of
Socioeconomic status is also important. A difference in
standard of living is stated as one of the factors that
caused differences in body mass index among different
populations . In this study 65.4% of overweight and
Conflict of interest: None
1.4% of obese children were of the highest socio eco-
nomic class. Since parents of children from higher socio
economic groups also have better incomes, higher edu-
cational levels and therefore access to western life-
styles , it is presumed that this could affect the diet and
paediatric care that that these children received in their
infancy and early childhood and thus they have higher
body mass index values. With improvement in socio-
economic conditions, obesity may become a public
health problem in Nigeria. Management of overweight
The Authors are grateful to staff and students of par-
ticipating schools in Enugu, Nigeria for their coopera-
tion . We also thank Ms Nkeiru Madu for secretarial
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