Background: Continually rising prevalence of obesity and overweight in
children and adolescents is a major public health concern. This is due to its
various and serious health hazards on one side and its preventable nature on
the other side. This study aims at identification of prevalence of overweight
and obesity and its risk factors among children between 6 - 14 years of age in
Sohag, Egypt. Method: A cross sectional study was conducted on 711 school
children between 6 - 14 years in four months’ period from February to May
2016. Weight and height of the studied children were measured to calculate
BMI, which was compared with standard Egyptian growth charts for determining
overweight and obesity. Then a questionnaire containing data about
socio demographic, parental obesity, early life and dietary risk factors was
completed by the children’s parents. Result: Out of 711 studied children, 117
(16.5%) were overweight and 104 (14.6%) were obese. Residing in urban area,
having an obese parent or both of them, low level of maternal education, being
on formula feeding during early life and lack of fresh vegetables and fruits
in diets were significant risk factors for overweight and obesity in the studied
children (P value < 0.05). Conclusion: Improperly educated mothers together
with sedentary life style manifested in obesity among the parents and lack of
sport practice among children constituted the majors risk factors for childhood
obesity. This emphasizes the need for increased health awareness of the
community about the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity.