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When do German children gain weight?
Date:8/14/2012

Scientists working with Professor Dr. Dr. Perikles Simon, head of the Sports Medicine division of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany, suggest in the light of recent analyses that German children gain weight soon after entering elementary school. From birth up to the age of five years, today's children's weight development is nearly identical to those from twenty years ago. Then as now there are about 10 percent of the children in this age range who are classified as being overweight. There is even a slight tendency that in the first five years of their life, today's children weigh less as it was 20 years ago. "However, what we have found is that over the next three years in school there is a significant increase in the prevalence of overweight compared to a representative international and German reference population," explains Sascha Hoffmann from the JGU Institute of Sports Science. Supported by the research group of Cognition and Perception of the University of Tbingen, the JGU scientists asked a relatively simple question: When exactly do German children gain weight? The results were recently published in the leading journal Obesity (Silver Spring).

Sascha Hoffmann, as part of his doctorate, performed an in-depth analysis of the public use file of the KiGGS Study The German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents, conducted between May 2003 and May 2006. For data analysis, Rolf Ulrich, Professor for Cognitive Psychology at the University of Tbingen, used a procedure which in contrast to standard data analyses allows a more objective comparison of age groups; so it is now possible to determine exactly when considerable changes in data sets occur. The results indicate that, in Germany, at the age of 7.2 years there may be the highest increase in the prevalence of childhood overweight. At 8 years of age, more than 20 percent of German children are considered to be overweight. About 20 years ago,
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Contact: Dr. Perikles Simon
simonpe@uni-mainz.de
49-613-139-23586
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
Source:Eurekalert

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