Underweight, Overweight and Obesity Among Zaboli Adolescents: A Comparison Between International and Iranians’ National Criteria

Amin Salehi-Abargouei, Hadi Abdollahzad, Zoleykhah Bameri, Ahmad Esmaillzadeh


Background: Obesity and overweight are the major health problems in Iran. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents living in Zabol settled in Sistan va Baluchistan, one of economically underprivileged provinces in South Eastern of Iran, based on four different definitions.

Method: This cross‑sectional study was accomplished among a sample of 837 Zaboli adolescents (483 males; 354 females) aged 11‑15 years. Anthropometric measurements including weight and height were measured and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Sex‑specific BMI‑for‑age reference data of the Iranian national data, Centers for Disease Control data (CDC 2000), International Obesity Task Force data (IOTF) and recent World Health Organization (WHO) data was used to define overweight and obesity.

Results: Mean age of the studied population was 13.14 year. Underweight was prevalent among almost 18.7% and 18.4% of adolescents by the use of WHO 2007 and CDC 2000 cut‑off points. The prevalence rates reached 25.8% and 27.2% by IOTF and Iranian national criteria, respectively. The highest prevalence of overweight was obtained by IOTF cut‑points (10.8%) followed by CDC 2000 criteria (9.4%), WHO 2007 (8.8%) while national Iranian cut‑points resulted in the lowest prevalence (2.4%). 7.5% of the studied population were found to be obese by WHO 2007 definition, while this rate was 2.2%, 3.4% and 1.5% by IOTF, CDC 2000 and national Iranian cut‑points.

Conclusions: Almost all definitions revealed coexistence of underweight, overweight, and obesity among Zaboli adolescents. Huge differences exist between different criteria. To understand the best appropriate criteria for Iranian adolescents, future studies should focus on the predictability of obesity‑related co‑morbidities by these criteria.

Keywords: Adolescents, body mass index, Iran, obesity, overweight, prevalence, Zabol

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