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Trends in growth and obesity in ethnic groups in Britain
  1. S Chinn,
  2. J M Hughes,
  3. R J Rona
  1. Department of Public Health Medicine, UMDS St Thomas’s Campus, London SE1 7EH, UK
  1. Miss Chinn. email:s.chinn{at}


AIM To estimate trends in growth for 5 to 11 year old ethnic minority and inner city children and comparative representative samples from 1983 to 1994.

DESIGN Mixed longitudinal.

SUBJECTS At each of six surveys, more than 2000 inner city white, 1500 Urdu or Punjabi speaking, 5000 English representative white, 3000 Scottish representative white, and around 1000 Afro-Caribbean, 500 falling to 300 Gujarati speaking, and 260 increasing to 300 other Indian children.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS Height, weight for height, and triceps skinfold thickness.

RESULTS Height increased in all inner city groups by ∼ 1.5 cm, but group differences were maintained. Trends in triceps skinfold varied, but increased by 4–12% in Indian subcontinent girls. Weight for height increased generally. Inner city white children showed conflicting trends in weight for height and fatness.

CONCLUSIONS Afro-Caribbean children are maintaining their tall, slim build, but other groups emphasise the diversity of obesity patterns in a multi-ethnic society, with a predominant trend towards greater obesity. Monitoring of these groups should continue.

  • ethnic minority
  • stature
  • weight for height index
  • triceps skinfold thickness

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