Trends of body mass index distribution in schoolchildren in Sendai, Japan, 1989-2003

Naoyuki Kurokawa, Kunihiko Nakai, Keita Suzuki, Norio Sugawara, Kozue Sakurai, Takashi Ohba, Miyuki Shimada, Satomi Kameo, Haruo Nakatsuka, Hiroshi Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Accumulating evidence indicates a strong association between obesity and health problems. Childhood obesity increases the risk of adulthood obesity. Although it is reported that the number of obese children in Japan has increased, it is unclear whether the obesity index distribution pattern has changed. To clarify this distribution pattern, we analyzed the changes in the body mass index (BMI) of primary (6th grade, 12 years old) and junior high (3rd year, 15 years old) schoolchildren in the city of Sendai during the period from 1989 to 2003. Our department has accumulated information on the height and body weight of all the schoolchildren in the city of Sendai. BMI was calculated using both the height and body weight data. The change in median BMI for 15 years had a slightly upward trend every year with both gender and school year. Although the BMI distribution showed that there was little or no change over time in the lower (10th and 25th) percentiles, the increases in the 75th and 90th percentiles were more marked than that in the 50th percentile in primary school children. On the other hand, there was only a small increase in BMI in the 3rd year of junior high school. Our results indicated that the changes in BMI distribution were concentrated at the upper end of the distribution in primary school children. The shifts in the value of high percentiles might be due to effect modification of the corresponding exposure by another environmental exposure or genetic predisposition. It is suggested that the factors causing this change influenced only part of this population, and affected individuals might represent a susceptible subpopulation of the exposed children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-27
Number of pages7
JournalObesity Research and Clinical Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar


  • Body mass index
  • Children
  • Distribution
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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