Nutritional deficiencies and childhood obesity in Turkey

Sabahat Tezcan, Hacettepe University
Tuğba Adalı, Hacettepe University
Elif Yiğit, Hacettepe University

Nutrition in childhood is vital for healthy development of the body. Chronic malnutrition and obesity are the two ends of the spectrum, both with negative health outcomes. Despite the decreasing trend of chronic malnutrition Turkey, one in ten children are short for their age as of 2008. On the other hand, obesity has been recognized as a major public health in the recent decade. There are several local studies indicating the emergence of childhood obesity in Turkey, however this study is the first to assess childhood obesity from a national sample. Data is obtained from the anthropometric measurements in Turkey Demographic and Health Survey, 2008. Obesity is assessed by the weight for age variable; children above 2 standard deviations above the median value of the reference population are considered obese. Acording to this measure, 5.8 percent of children under 5 years are obese in Turkey. The prevalance of childhood obesity is higher in urban areas (6.7 percent), in Western Turkey (7.8 percent), in households with the highest wealth status (11.5 percent), with mothers of high school education or higher (9.8 percent) and who were born with cesarean section (8.2 percent). Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that chronic malnutrition in children is related to the region of residence, household wealth status, birth intervals, birth weight and duration of breastfeeding. For childhood obesity; birth order, birth weight and duration of breastfeeding have been found to be significant determinants.

Presented in Poster Session 2