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Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

Unexpected plateauing of childhood obesity rates in developed countries

Martin Wabitsch1*, Anja Moss1 and Katrin Kromeyer-Hauschild2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Interdisciplinary Obesity Unit, Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Ulm University, Eythstr. 24, D-89073 Ulm, Germany

2 Institute of Human Genetics, Jena University Hospital, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Kollegiengasse 10, D-07740 Jena, Germany

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BMC Medicine 2014, 12:17  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-17

Published: 31 January 2014


Surveys performed in the past 10 to 15 years show a yet unexplained stabilization or decline in prevalence rates of childhood obesity in developed countries. The projected continuous increase in obesity prevalence throughout future decades seems not to occur at present. Apparently, saturation has been reached, which might be related to societal adjustments. Hence, we postulate a cumulative effect of public health programs for obesity prevention resulting, for example, in an increase in physical activity, and a decline in television viewing and in the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks by children. Effective public health programs are urgently needed for developing countries, where obesity rates in children still continued to increase during the past decade.

Obesity; Children and adolescents; Extreme obesity; Prevalence; Trend societal and environmental determinants