Original Article

Risk factors for childhood overweight and obesity in Ukraine and Germany


  • Vira Yakovenko
  • Laura Henn
  • Markus Bettendorf
  • Natalia Zelinska
  • Galyna Soloviova
  • Georg F. Hoffmann
  • Juergen Grulich-Henn

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol 0;0(0):0-0 [e-Pub] PMID: 30630809


Overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence are rapidly increasing and influenced by genetic, familial, environmental, socioeconomic and cultural factors.


The aim of the study was to compare risk factors for childhood obesity in Ukraine (UA) and Germany (DE) using comparable investigative tools.


Two groups of children aged 8 to 18 years in DE (93 children) and UA (95 children) were divided into children with overweight and with obesity. Anthropometric data and detailed medical history were collected.


Risk factors in pregnancy (prematurity, weight gain ˃20 kg, early contractions) were equally frequent in both groups. Positive correlations of BMI-SDS between children and mothers were seen. The proportion of family members with diabetes mellitus was lower in the UA group. The DE children had obesity more often at the age of 1 year. The DE group became overweight earlier and remained overweight over a longer period of time compared to UA. The mean BMI-SDS of children with obesity was found to be lower in the UA group. In both groups waist circumference to height ratio (WHtR) was ˃0.5, indicating presence of a cardiometabolic risk factor. About half of the patients in both groups had blood pressure values exceeding the 95th percentile.


Similar risk factors for obesity were observed among two groups of children in UA and DE. Differences were observed regarding the prevalence of specific risk factors for childhood obesity. To our opinion, the population-specific distribution of risk factors has to be considered in order to optimize prevention and treatment strategies.

Keywords: obesity, risk factors, childhood, adolescent, overweight