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Increase in the Prevalence of Obesity in Switzerland 1982-2007: Birth Cohort Analysis Puts Recent Slowdown into Perspective


Faeh, D; Bopp, M (2010). Increase in the Prevalence of Obesity in Switzerland 1982-2007: Birth Cohort Analysis Puts Recent Slowdown into Perspective. Obesity, 18(3):644-646.

Abstract

Although the prevalence of obesity continues to increase in Switzerland, the latest figures suggest a slowdown in the rate of increase. In order to elucidate whether this could be the onset of a trend reversal, we analyzed cross-sectional data by birth cohort. We assessed the prevalence of overweight+ (BMI >/=25 kg/m(2)) and obesity (BMI >/=30 kg/m(2)) in six population surveys with self-reported height and weight values (Switzerland, N = 68,829, 1982-2007, men (45%) and women (55%), aged 20-84 years) by 10-year birth cohorts (from the decade 1910-1919 through to 1970-1979). We found that increases in the prevalence of overweight+ and obesity occurred mainly in the cohort born 1930 to 1939, and again in the cohorts born 1960 to 1979. The accelerated increase in the prevalence of overweight+ in the youngest birth cohort and the lower prevalence in the oldest birth cohorts suggest that the current slowdown seen in Switzerland may not herald the onset of a trend reversal. As this example shows, simple comparisons of prevalence rates over time could provide a misleading picture of actual trends. Birth cohort analysis may offer a valuable alternative.

Abstract

Although the prevalence of obesity continues to increase in Switzerland, the latest figures suggest a slowdown in the rate of increase. In order to elucidate whether this could be the onset of a trend reversal, we analyzed cross-sectional data by birth cohort. We assessed the prevalence of overweight+ (BMI >/=25 kg/m(2)) and obesity (BMI >/=30 kg/m(2)) in six population surveys with self-reported height and weight values (Switzerland, N = 68,829, 1982-2007, men (45%) and women (55%), aged 20-84 years) by 10-year birth cohorts (from the decade 1910-1919 through to 1970-1979). We found that increases in the prevalence of overweight+ and obesity occurred mainly in the cohort born 1930 to 1939, and again in the cohorts born 1960 to 1979. The accelerated increase in the prevalence of overweight+ in the youngest birth cohort and the lower prevalence in the oldest birth cohorts suggest that the current slowdown seen in Switzerland may not herald the onset of a trend reversal. As this example shows, simple comparisons of prevalence rates over time could provide a misleading picture of actual trends. Birth cohort analysis may offer a valuable alternative.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:24 March 2010
Deposited On:06 Oct 2009 07:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:22
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1930-7381
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2009.310
PubMed ID:19779475

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