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Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism

Editor-in-Chief: Kiess, Wieland

Ed. by Bereket, Abdullah / Darendeliler, Feyza / Dattani, Mehul / Gustafsson, Jan / Luo, Fei Hong / Mericq, Veronica / Ogata, Tsutomu / Toppari, Jorma

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Volume 30, Issue 5


Trends in the prevalence of extreme obesity among Korean children and adolescents from 2001 to 2014

Hyo-Kyoung Nam / Hye Ryun Kim / Young-Jun Rhie / Kee-Hyoung Lee
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Pediatrics, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Inchon-ro 73, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea
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Published Online: 2017-04-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpem-2016-0456



We assessed nationwide trends in extreme obesity prevalence and its impact on metabolic syndrome in Korean youth.


Data from 19,593 youth (10,271 boys) aged 2–19 were obtained from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (2001–2014). The prevalence of extreme obesity and the odds ratio of metabolic syndrome were calculated. Questionnaires on body weight perceptions and weight control behaviors were administered.


The prevalence of extreme obesity increased significantly among boys (p<0.05). The odds ratios of extreme obesity on metabolic syndrome compared with obesity were 3.781 and 1.979 in boys and girls, respectively. Obese teenage girls with appropriate weight perception attempted to lose weight more frequently than obese teenage boys did.


Although the prevalence of childhood obesity in Korea was similar since early 2000s, extreme obesity prevalence has increased, especially among teenage boys. Considering greater morbidity risks, preventing progression to extreme obesity is crucial.

Keywords: body mass index; metabolic syndrome; pediatric obesity; prevalence; trends


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About the article

Corresponding author: Kee-Hyoung Lee, MD, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Inchon-ro 73, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea, Phone: +82-2-920-6604, Fax: +82-2-922-7476

Received: 2016-12-07

Accepted: 2017-03-06

Published Online: 2017-04-22

Published in Print: 2017-05-01

Author contributions: Nam HK, Lee KH designed this study. Nam HK, Kim HR, Rhie YJ, Lee KH conducted data analysis and drafted the manuscript. All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: None declared.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.

Citation Information: Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism, Volume 30, Issue 5, Pages 517–523, ISSN (Online) 2191-0251, ISSN (Print) 0334-018X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jpem-2016-0456.

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