Trends in weight loss attempts among children in England.
Ahmad A., Little M., Piernas C., Jebb S.
OBJECTIVES: To describe trends in reported weight loss attempts among school-aged children and to investigate its sociodemographic determinants. DESIGN: We analysed data of children who participated in the Health Survey for England from 1997 to 2016 (n=34 235). This repeated cross-sectional survey reported weight loss attempts and sociodemographic characteristics. Body weight and height were measured by trained interviewers, and body mass index for age z-score was calculated. Multivariable logistic regression was used to investigate the sociodemographic determinants. SETTING: England. PARTICIPANTS: Children (8-17 years). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Weight loss attempts by year, age group, gender, BMI for age z-score, ethnicity and household income. RESULTS: The prevalence of reported weight loss attempts increased significantly from 21.4% (1997-1998) to 26.5% (2015-2016). The increase was significant for boys, older children, Asian children, children from lower income households and in all categories of BMI for age z-score. Significant predictors of weight loss attempts included having overweight (8-12 years old, OR 4.01 (%CI 3.47 to 4.64); 13-17 years old, OR 1.96 (%CI 1.58 to 2.42)) or obesity (8-12 years old, OR 13.57 (%CI 11.94 to 15.43); 13-17 years old, OR 4.72 (%CI 3.94 to 5.66)) as well as being older, girls, from ethnic minority groups or low household income. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of reported weight loss attempts among children is increasing at a faster rate than the rise in excess weight and includes an increasing proportion of children with a 'healthy' weight. The increase in the prevalence of reported weight loss attempts among children is greatest among subgroups with lower baseline prevalence.