Changes in the Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity among Peruvian Children under Five Years before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from a Nationwide Population-Based Study

Akram Hernández-Vásquez, Rodrigo Vargas-Fernández

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aimed to identify changes in the prevalence of childhood (children under five years of age) overweight and obesity in Peru as a whole and at the departmental level, before and during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. We performed a secondary data analysis of two Demographic and Family Health Surveys (2019 and 2021) in Peru. The outcome was childhood overweight and obesity, defined as a weight-for-height score greater than 2 standard deviations. Poisson log generalized linear regression models adjusted for sex and/or age in months of the child were fitted to obtain the prevalence ratios of the changes in childhood overweight and obesity from 2019 to 2021. The analysis included 41,533 (2019: 20,414; 2021: 21,119) participants. The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity was 6.4% in 2019 and 7.8% in 2021. Female children, aged 2, 3 and 4 years, and mothers who self-identified as non-native, had secondary and higher education, belonged to the middle and richer wealth quintile and resided in an urban area, in a village, in a small city and in the coastal region showed the largest increases in the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in 2021 compared to 2019. The departments of Pasco, Apurímac, Junín, Cusco, Lambayeque and La Libertad presented the largest increases in the prevalence of these nutritional disorders. During the pandemic, an increase in the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity was observed, with demographic and socioeconomic factors accounting for the largest increases in the prevalence rates. A restructuring of overweight and obesity control strategies is required to curb this steady increase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12390
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Peru
  • childhood obesity
  • childhood overweight
  • cross-sectional studies
  • epidemiology

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