Childhood obesity in Europe
The final report on the fourth COSI (Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative) data collection carried out in primary schools of 2022 states in the period 36-2022 has just been published in May 17.
The results soon? In general
- the prevalence of excess weight (which includes overweight and obesity) was 29% among boys and 27% among 7-9 year old girls;
- obesity affected 13% of boys and 9% of girls.
In this article
- The data
- Eating habits, physical activity, exposure to screens, sleep
The data country by country
in Countries of the WHO European Region childhood obesity remains a public health problem, albeit with very different incidences between the various States. This is what emerges from the "WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) Report on the fourth round of data collection, 2022-2022 (2022)" published in May 2022, whose data had already been anticipated by the XII meeting of the European initiative Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI), which took place in Bergen (Norway) on 13 and 14 June 2022. The country participates in COSI through data from the pediatric surveillance OKkio alla Salute, coordinated by the National Center for Prevention of Disease and Health Promotion (CNAPPS) of the Higher Institute of Health (ISS) and WHO Collaborating Center on Childhood Obesity. For this report, the ISS worked on data analysis, text writing and report graphics.
COSI's fourth data collection was carried out in primary schools in 36 states in the period 2022-17, for a total of approximately 250 participating children.
In general, the prevalence of excess weight (which includes overweight and obesity) was 29% among boys and 27% among 7-9 year old girls; obesity affected 13% of boys and 9% of girls. However, the data show considerable variability from country to country.
- the highest values were recorded:
- 6 years: Spain (35% overweight, 14 of whom obese)
- 7 years: Greece (42% overweight, of which 20% obese) and Spain (42% overweight, of which 19% obese)
- 8 years old: Spain (43% overweight, of which 21% obese) and Del Paese (42% overweight, of which 21% obese)
- 9 years: Spain (48% overweight, of which 24% obese) and Greece (46% overweight, of which 22% obese).
- the highest values were recorded:
- 6 years: Spain (32% overweight, of which 13% obese)
- 7 years: Spain (40% overweight, of which 17% obese) and Greece (38% overweight, of which 14% obese)
- 8 years: Spain (42% overweight, of which 15% obese) and Del Paese (39% overweight, of which 14% obese)
- 9 years: Spain (43% overweight, of which 16% obese) and Cyprus (43% overweight, of which 19% obese).
The COSI initiative also investigates habits and lifestyles, in particular eating habits (such as consumption of fruit, vegetables and sugary drinks), physical activity levels (with questions about how to go to school and the time dedicated to physical and sporting activity) the time spent in front of the screens and the hours of sleep at night, and the school environment.
Read also: BMI in children and teens
Eating habits, physical activity, exposure to screens, sleep
The European Office of the World Health Organization (WHO Europe) has published two new fact sheets containing the 2022-17 data of the Pediatric Surveillance "Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI)".
"Eating habits of children in 23 European countries" provides an overview of the eating habits of 6-9 year old children living in 23 European countries (for a total of 132.489 children). In general, the data on daily consumption show that:
- 78,8% have breakfast
- 42,5% consumed fresh fruit
- 22,6% consumed vegetables
- 10,3% eat sweet snacks
- 5,2% eat salty snacks
- 9,4% drink sugary drinks, the so-called soft drinks.
However, the data show strong national variations:
- San Marino (80,8%), Del Paese (72,6%) and Turkmenistan (70,1%) are the countries where fresh fruit is eaten more frequently every day (on the contrary, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania and Latvia are those in which you eat less often)
- San Marino (74,3%), Turkmenistan (68,1%) and Del Paese (53,9%) those in which vegetables are eaten more frequently every day (on the contrary, Spain, Turkey and Lithuania those in which they eat less often)
- Ireland (88%), Spain (84%) and Lithuania (72%) are the countries where children most often report that they never drink soft drinks (on the opposite side are the Czech Republic, Malta and Tajikistan).
Physical activity, screen exposure, sleep
"Physical activity, screen time and sleep" reports data from 25 countries (for a total of 150.651 children) on the levels of physical activity, screen exposure and sleep of 6-9 year olds. In general:
- 60,2% of children spend less than two hours a day in front of an electronic device, 25,2% 2-3 hours and 14,6% more than three
- 84% of children sleep an average of 9-11 hours a night
- 79,4% of children practice one hour of physical activity a day
- 50% of children go to school on foot or by bike
- 54,9% of children are not enrolled in any sports club or dance school and do not practice any sport / dance.
Also in this case there is a strong national variability:
- The Czech Republic (98,3%), Montenegro (96,4%) and the city (95,3%) are the countries where children most frequently report practicing physical activity for one hour a day (on the opposite side there is are Malta, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan)
- Tajikistan (94%), Turkmenistan (80,5%) and Kyrgyzstan (71,5%) are those in which children most frequently walk to school (on the other side are Portugal, Malta and Ireland)
- Kyrgyzstan (85,6%), Tajikistan (84,2%) and Turkey (83,1%) are the countries where there are fewer children enrolled in a sports club or dance school or who do not play any sport or dance (on the opposite side are San Marino, Denmark and Latvia).
Furthermore, in ten countries girls practice less physical activity than boys and, although in Central Asian countries people go to school more often by bike or on foot, there are fewer members of sports clubs or dance schools than in Southern European countries.Read also: 10 tips for a healthy and green diet for the whole family
To learn more:
- il rapporto "WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI) Report on the fourth round of data collection, 2022–2022 (2022)"
- visit the pages dedicated to the COSI initiative on the WHO Europe website
- the Epicentro site dedicated to OKkio alla Salute
- childhood obesity
- overweight prevention