Prevalence and associated factors of overweight and obesity among schoolchildren in Hanoi, Vietnam

Thuy Thi Phuong Pham, Yumi Matsushita, Lien Thi Kim Dinh, Thanh Van Do, Thanh Thi The Nguyen, Anh Tuan Bui, Anh Quoc Nguyen, Hiroshi Kajio

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The prevalence of overweight and obesity (OW/OB) has increased rapidly in Vietnam. This study aimed to elucidate the factors influencing OW/OB among secondary schoolchildren. Method: A survey was conducted in January 2014 in four randomly selected state schools in two Hanoi urban districts, and 821 students in grade six (11-12 years old) participated. Definitions of OW/OB followed the World Health Organization standard cut-offs. Results: Overall, 4.1% of children were underweight, 59.7% were normal weight, 17.1% were overweight, and 19.1% were obese. The odds of OW/OB were lowest among children whose parents had college/university degrees [father (aOR =0.65, 95% CI: 0.42-1.00); mother (aOR =0.63, 95% CI: 0.41-0.97)] compared with those whose parents had only a primary education. Children with an OW/OB family history had an increased risk of OW/OB. Other associated factors include parental OW/OB and birth weight (BW). The odds of OW/OB were highest among children with parents with OW/OB [father (aOR =2.022, 95% CI: 1.34-3.04); mother (aOR =2.83, 95% CI: 1.51-5.30)] compared with those with normal-weight parents. Children with both parents having OW/OB [both parents (aOR =6.59, 95% CI: 1.28-33.87) had the highest risk, followed by one parent (aOR =2.22, 95% CI: 1.50-3.27)] and then neither parent having OW/OB. Moreover, high-birth-weight children [BW ≥ 3500 g (aOR =1.52, 95% CI: 1.07-2.15)] had greater odds than did normal-birth-weight children. Children who slept 11 h per day [8-11 h (aOR =0.57, 95% CI: 0.40-0.81) or more (aOR =0.44, 95% CI: 0.22-0.87)] had lower OW/OB odds than those who slept 8 h or less. Children with specific positive lifestyle behaviours had lower risk of OW/OB than those who did not engage in positive lifestyle behaviours. The odds were lower among children who exercised for weight reduction (OR = 0.16, 95% CI: 0.11-0.23), lowered food intake (aOR = 0.12, 95% CI: 0.09-0.17), and added vegetables to their diet (aOR = 0.26, 95% CI: 0.19-0.35). Conclusion: The results suggest that parents and children with OW/OB parents or a high BW should be educated to prevent OW/OB at an early stage. Positive lifestyle behaviours should be adopted by the students.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1478
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Prevalence
  • Vietnam


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