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Health Obesity on the decline among Swiss kids

Boys and girls take part in a sports camp for overweight children at Zweisimmen, canton Bern, in 2013

Boys and girls take part in a sports camp for overweight children at Zweisimmen in 2013

(Keystone)

The number of Swiss children who are overweight or obese is declining, a national survey has revealed. 

The percentage of overweight and obese children in Switzerland fell from 19.9% to 16.7% between the school years 2005/6 and 2016/17, Promotion Health Switzerland reported on Tuesdayexternal link (in French).

The statistics are based on body mass index calculations collected for 14,000 children from Basel, Bern and Zurich at nursery, primary and secondary school levels. 

"It is satisfying that the positive trend observed in the last few years is continuing,” Promotion Health Switzerland Director Thomas Mattig declared in a press statement. He welcomed obesity prevention efforts, especially in nursery schools.

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The study found a continual decline in obesity at nursery school age, and the start of a downward trend at primary school age. The figures for secondary school children were stable. 

Looked at together, 16.7% of children were overweight, of whom 4.3% were obese – down from 4.9% for 2005/6. The organisation registered a peak (20.1% overweight or obese) in 2010/2011.

BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared and is an indication of whether a person is a healthy weight. For adults a BMI of between 18 kg/m2 and 25 kg/m2 is considered normal, while a BMI of over 25 kg/m2 is considered overweight. Obese is 30 kg/m2 or above. Children use the same calculation but are graded using a sliding scale according to age.

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