Objective: Childhood obesity is a significant and increasing public health issue. We present results from two cross-sectional surveys from Melbourne and Sydney that sought to estimate the level of overweight and obesity among preschool-aged children. Methods: In Melbourne, weight and height of 196 children from 12 randomly selected preschools and kindergartens were measured and recorded. In Sydney, data on weight and height of 325 children attending four early childhood centres were extracted from client records. The two studies used the age and gender-specific body mass index criteria for classifying overweight and obesity. Results: The prevalence of Melbourne preschool-aged children considered overweight was 15.3% for boys and 17.3% for girls, with a further 7.1% of boys and 8.2% of girls considered obese. In Sydney, the proportion of children considered overweight was 15.3% for boys and 26.3% for girls. An additional 8.7% of boys and 8% of girls were considered obese. Conclusion: There is some evidence that childhood obesity may begin in the preschool years. Intervention programs targeting obesity should be considered for families with preschool-aged children in urban Australia.
- Childhood obesity
- Preschool-aged children