Overweight and obesity in primary school: Native children versus migrant children

L.J.W. Labree, Dike van de Mheen, F.F.H. Rutten, G. Rodenburg, G.T. Koopmans, M.M.E. Foets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


To compare the means of body mass index (BMI) and the prevalences of overweight and obesity between native Dutch and migrant primary school children and to assess to what degree differences between these children could be explained by socioeconomic position and BMI of the mother and the father.

Subjects and methods
A cross-sectional survey was performed among children at the age of 8–9 years old. Subjects were a total of 1,943 children and their primary caregiver. Outcome measures were BMIs and the prevalence of overweight, including obesity. Main independent variables were migrant background, based on country of birth of the parents, socioeconomic status, as indicated by educational level, and parental BMI. Other independent variables were the age and sex of the child.

Overall, our findings show that overweight and obesity are significantly more prevalent among migrant children of non-Western descent as compared to native children and children of Western descent.

Parental BMI is an important predictor of a child’s BMI. However, socioeconomic position is not. Because children of non-Western migrant origin are at higher risk for overweight and obesity, insight into differences in both physical activity and energy intake as well as how these behaviors relate to cultural contrasts in parental beliefs and practices is needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-421
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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