Childhood obesity and socioeconomic status: a novel role for height growth limitation

Joanne Elizabeth Cecil, P Watt, IS Murrie, W Wrieden, DJ Wallis, MM Hetherington, C Bolton-Smith, CN Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To assess prevalence and socioeconomic context of overweight and obesity in a cohort of Scottish children.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: Primary schools in Dundee, Angus, and Fife, Eastern Scotland, UK. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1240 boys and 1214 girls aged between 4-10 y.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Weight, height and body mass index (weight/height(2)).

RESULTS: Overall overweight or obesity prevalence was 24.6%, while prevalence of obesity alone was 6.1%. Individuals from schools with a high level of low-income families were 65% more likely to be overweight as judged by BMI. However, these children weighed the same as more affluent children of the same age, but were 1.26 cm shorter.

CONCLUSION: These data confirm the continued increase in childhood obesity in the UK and reveal a role for height-growth limitation in the absence of overall growth restriction, among children from low-income groups. This observation raises important questions regarding socioeconomic environmental factors in promoting the currently increasing levels of obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1203
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • childhood obesity
  • height
  • socioeconomic status
  • growth
  • UK


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