AIM To monitor the growth of 5 to 11 year old English and Scottish children from 1972 to 1994. No similar data are available from any other study.
DESIGN Mixed longitudinal.
SUBJECTS In England 7000 children were sampled in the first year, falling to 5000. In Scotland the original sample was 2000 but this was enlarged later to 3500.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS Height, weight, weight for height index, and triceps skinfold thickness.
RESULTS Height of English children in most age groups increased by more than 1 cm and by more than 2 cm in Scotland during the period 1972 to 1994. Triceps skinfold measurement increased by almost 8% in 7 year old English boys and by 7% in 7 year old girls. In Scotland triceps skinfold measurement increased by nearly 10% in 7 year old boys and by 11% in 7 year old girls. Weight for height index followed a similar pattern.
CONCLUSION Children in England and Scotland are becoming taller for a given age. The increases in fatness indicate an urgent need for realistic interventions for reductions in obesity in the whole population. As weight for height index is less sensitive than skinfold thickness we recommend triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness measurements for monitoring obesity in children.
- weight for height index
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