Data

Share of children who are overweight or obese

What you should know about this indicator

Rationale

Child growth is an internationally accepted outcome area reflecting child nutritional status. Child overweight refers to a child who is too heavy for his or her height. This form of malnutrition results from expending too few calories for the amount of food consumed and increases the risk of noncommunicable diseases later in life. Child overweight is one of the World Health Assembly nutrition target indicators.

Definition

Prevalence of overweight (weight for height >+2 standard deviation from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age

Method of measurement

Survey estimates are based on standardized methodology using the WHO Child Growth Standards as described elsewhere (Ref: Anthro software manual). Global and regional estimates are based on methodology outlined in UNICEF-WHO-The World Bank: Joint child malnutrition estimates - Levels and trends (UNICEF/WHO/WB 2021 edition).

Method of estimation

Data collection method UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank group jointly review new data sources to update the country level estimates. Each agency uses their existing mechanisms for obtaining data. For UNICEF, the cadre of dedicated data and monitoring specialists working at national, regional and international levels in 190 countries routinely provide technical support for the collection and analysis of nutrition data. UNICEF also relies on a data source catalogue that is regularly updated using data sources from catalogues of other international organizations and national statistics offices. This data collection is done in close collaboration with UNICEF regional offices with the purpose of ensuring that UNICEF global databases contain updated and internationally comparable data. The regional office staff work with country offices and local counterparts to ensure the most relevant data are shared. WHO data gathering strongly relies on the organization’s structure and network established over the past 30 years, since the creation of its global database, the WHO Global Database on Child Growth and Malnutrition, in the late 1980’s (de Onis et al. 2004). The World Bank Group provides estimates available through the Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS) which usually requires re-analysis of datasets given that the LSMS reports often do not tabulate the child malnutrition data. Method of computation National estimates from primary sources (e.g., from household surveys) used to generate the JME global estimates are based on standardized methodology using the WHO Child Growth Standards as described in Recommendations for data collection, analysis and reporting on anthropometric indicators in children under 5 years old (WHO/UNICEF 2019) and WHO Anthro Survey Analyser (WHO, 2019). The JME global estimates are generated using smoothing techniques and covariates (McLain et al. 2018) applied to quality-assured national data to derive trends and up-to-date estimates. Worldwide and regional estimates are derived as the respective country averages weighted by the countries’ under-five population estimates (UNPD-WPP latest available edition) using annual JME global estimates for 204 countries (UNICEF-WHO-World Bank 2020).

Share of children who are overweight or obese
Prevalence of overweight (weight for height >+2 standard deviation from the median of the World Health Organization (WHO) Child Growth Standards) among children under 5 years of age
Source
World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
January 3, 2024
Next expected update
January 2025
Date range
1990–2022
Unit
%

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The GHO data repository is WHO's gateway to health-related statistics for its 194 Member States. It provides access to over 1000 indicators on priority health topics including mortality and burden of diseases, the Millennium Development Goals (child nutrition, child health, maternal and reproductive health, immunization, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected diseases, water and sanitation), non communicable diseases and risk factors, epidemic-prone diseases, health systems, environmental health, violence and injuries, equity among others.

Retrieved on
January 3, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Health Organization. 2024. Global Health Observatory data repository. http://www.who.int/gho/en/. Accessed on 2024-01-03

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Citations

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To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Share of children who are overweight or obese”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/children-who-are-overweight-sdgs [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

World Health Organization - Global Health Observatory (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Share of children who are overweight or obese” [dataset]. World Health Organization, “Global Health Observatory” [original data]. Retrieved June 23, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/children-who-are-overweight-sdgs