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Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism

Editor-in-Chief: Kiess, Wieland

Editorial Board Member: Darendeliler, Feyza / Gustafsson, Jan / Luo, Feihong / Mericq, Veronica / Lanes M. D., Roberto / Battelino, Tadej / Buyukgebiz, Atilla / Cassorla, Fernando / Chrousos, George P. / Cutfield, Wayne / Fideleff, Hugo L. / Hershkovitz, Eli / LaFranchi, Stephen H. / Mohn, Angelika / Root, Allen W. / Rosenfeld, Ron G. / Wabitsch, Martin / Werther, George / Zadik, Zvi

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Obesity and associated cardiovascular risk factors among schoolchildren in Greece: a cross-sectional study and review of the literature

1 / Efstathios Skliros2, 3 / George S. Stergiou1 / Nikolaos Leotsakos2, 3 / Maria Saridi2, 3 / Dimitrios Garifallos2, 3

1Hypertension Center, Third University Department of Medicine, Sotiria Hospital, Athens, Greece

2Health Center of Kalivia, Attica, Greece

3Hellenic Society of Primary Healthcare Research and Continuing Education, Athens, Greece

Corresponding author: Anastasios Kollias, MD, PhD, Hypertension Center, Third University Department of Medicine, Sotiria Hospital 152, Mesogion Avenue, Athens 11527, Greece Phone: +30 210 7763117, Fax: +30 210 7719981

Citation Information: Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. Volume 24, Issue 11-12, Pages 929–938, ISSN (Online) 2191-0251, ISSN (Print) 0334-018X, DOI: 10.1515/JPEM.2011.309, November 2011

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Objective: To examine the prevalence and determinants of obesity and associated cardiovascular risk factors in a sample of Greek children.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional, school-based study of 780 students (9.2±1.8 years old, 415 boys) conducted in Eastern Attica, the greater area of the city of Athens. The study protocol included anthropometric, blood pressure (BP), and biochemical measurements, as well as dietary and lifestyle habits assessment. A review of Greek studies on childhood obesity was also performed.

Results: Approximately 22% of the participants were overweight and 8% were obese, which is in accordance with the results of 24 previous Greek studies showing the childhood overweight/obesity prevalence in the range of 30%. Overweight/obese children compared with normal-weight children had higher BP, lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and higher triglycerides (p<0.05 for all). Parental weight, consumption of sweets and fast-food, and decreased physical activity were independent determinants of being overweight/obese. Furthermore, overweight/obesity predicted the presence of high BP, low HDL-C, and high triglycerides.

Conclusion: A close association was revealed between obesity and metabolic abnormalities, underlining the need for early screening and intervention in overweight children in order to address the emerging childhood obesity epidemic in Greece.

Keywords: cardiovascular risk factors; children; Greece; hypertension; obesity

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