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Publication Title

Public Health Nutrition




Objectives: This study aimed to examine age-specific trends in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren in Kuwait over a 13-year period (2007 to 2019) using the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) definitions.

Design: Using cross-sectional approach, Kuwait Nutrition Surveillance System (KNSS) objectively measured weight and height of schoolchildren over a 13-year period. Log-binomial regression models were used to examine age-specific trends of obesity and overweight over the study period.

Setting: Public primary, middle, and high schools in all provinces of Kuwait.

Participants: Schoolchildren aged 5-19 years (n 172 603).

Results: According to the WHO definition, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren respectively increased from 17.73% and 21.37% in 2007 to 20.19% and 28.39% in 2019 (P for trend<0.001). There is evidence that the obesity in females (but not males) has levelled off in the period 2014-2019 according to the three definitions of obesity, which is corroborated by a similar trend in the mean of BMI-for-age Z score.

Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity and overweight in schoolchildren in Kuwait has risen over the last 13 years and trends are similar across all definitions. Obesity is no longer increasing at the same pace and there is evidence that the prevalence of obesity in females has plateaued. The current level of childhood overweight and obesity is too high and requires community-based and school-based interventions.


© The Authors, 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society.

Material has been accepted for publication in a revised form, in Public Health Nutrition, This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use.

Original Publication Citation

Al-Taiar, A., Alqaoud, N., Ziyab, A. H., ... Sharaf Alddin, R., Jeng, H. A., & Akpinar-Elci, M. (2021). Time-trends of overweight and obesity among schoolchildren in Kuwait over a 13-year period (2007-2019): Repeated cross-sectional study. Public Health Nutrition, 1-39.


0000-0001-7421-3381 (Al-Taiar)