Secular trends in height and weight among children and adolescents of the Seychelles, 1956-2006

Marques-Vidal, Pedro; Madeleine, George; Romain, Sarah; Gabriel, Anne; Bovet, Pascal
January 2008
BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8, p166
Academic Journal
Background: Height of individuals has long been considered as a significant index of nutrition and health of a population; still, there is little information regarding the trends of height and weight among developing or transitional countries. We assessed the secular trends in height and weight in children of the Seychelles, a rapidly developing island state in the Indian Ocean (African region). Methods: Height and weight were measured in all students of all schools in four selected school grades (kindergarten, 4th, 7th and 10th grades) for the periods 1998-9 (6391 children) and 2005-6 (8582 children). Data for 1956-7 was extracted from a previously published report. Results: At age 15.5 years, boys/girls were on average 10/13 cm taller and 15/9 kg heavier in 2005-6 than in 1956-7. Height increased in boys/girls by 1.62/0.93 cm/decade between 1956-7 and 1998-9 and by 1.14/1.82 cm/decade between 1998-9 and 2005-6. For weight, the linear increase in boys/ girls was 1.38/1.10 kg/decade between 1956-7 and 1998-9 and 2.21/2.50 kg/decade between 1998-9 and 2005-6. Overall, the relative increase in weight between 1956-7 and 2005-6 was 5-fold higher than the relative increase in height. Conclusion: Height and weight increased markedly over time in children aged <16 years in the Seychelles, consistent with large changes in socio-economic and nutritional indicators in the considered 50-year interval. The markedly steeper increase in weight than height over time is consistent with an epidemic of overweight and obesity.


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