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ISRN Pediatrics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 861246, 8 pages
Research Article

Ethnic Background and Overweight among 5-Year-Old Children: The “Be Active, Eat Right” Study

1Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, P.O. Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands
2Institute of Health Sciences, Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 1 July 2013; Accepted 3 September 2013

Academic Editors: J. Otten, M. Sánchez-Solís, and S. A. Sarker

Copyright © 2013 Lydian Veldhuis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. This study investigates the association between ethnic background and overweight (obesity included) among 5 year olds. Methods. We used baseline data from 5 year olds ( ) and their parents collected for the “Be active, eat right” study. A child was considered to be of non-Dutch ethnic background when at least one of the parents was born abroad. Odds ratios (ORs) were adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics. Results. Compared to children of Dutch ethnic background, for children with a Moroccan ethnic background the OR for being overweight (obesity included) was 2.27 (95% CI 1.48–3.47), for Turkish children the OR was 3.63 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.46–5.35), for Antillean children the OR was 1.97 (95% CI 1.01–3.86), and for Surinamese children the OR was 0.47 (95% CI 0.20–1.06). Addition of parental overweight decreased the ORs for Moroccan and Turkish children by 10.2% and 12.5%, and addition of watching TV and having breakfast by the child decreased the ORs by 7.9% and 12.2%. Conclusion. Already at a young age, children of Moroccan and Turkish ethnic background are at increased risk for being overweight compared to Dutch children. Parental overweight, watching TV, and not having breakfast by the child are contributing factors in this association.