Sociodemographic and Economic Determinants of Overweight and Obesity for Public-school Children in Geneva State, Switzerland: A Cross-sectional Study

Emilien Jeannot, Per Mahler, Nadia Elia, Bernard Cerutti, P. Chastonnay


Background: Obesity among children and adolescents is a growing public health problem. The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence, socioeconomic and demographic determinants of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren from Geneva.
Methods: A cross‑sectional study was undertaken at the Public School of Geneva canton in Switzerland. A total of 8544 public school children were collected and analyzed: 2577 were in
second grade, 2641 in fifth grade and 3326 in eighth grade. To identify overweight and obesity we used the definition issued by the International Obesity Task Force. Child characteristics included gender, age, socioeconomic status (SES) of father and mother, and school grade. The multivariate logistic regression model was used to examine potential predictors of overweight/obesity.
Results: The prevalence of overweight or obese children was 14.4% in second grade, 17.3% in fifth grade and 18.6% in eighth grade. Multivariate logistic regression analyses reveal that children that have a low economic status or certain citizenships are more likely to be overweight or obese. Children of Kosovar origin, have a higher risk of OBO in second grade (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.20–4.00), fifth grade (adjusted OR = 2.36 95%
CI: 1.27–4.39) and in eighth grade (adjusted OR = 2.15 95% CI: 1.27–4.39). Association between SES and overweight was high with regards to the father’s SES in fifth grade (adjusted
OR = 4.21 95% CI: 2.83–6.25).
Conclusions: Overweight and obesity is associated to socioeconomic and sociodemographic factors. The analyzes reveals that children with a low economic status and/or from  certain countries are more likely to be overweight or obese than Swiss children. There is an urgent need for action to prevent further increase in overweight or obesity among children.
Keywords: Childhood, obesity, school

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