Overweight and obesity place children and adolescents at increased risk of significant health problems, both during their early life and adult life. A cross sectional study was carried out to determine the prevalence of overweight among secondary school students aged 13-17 years in the Klang district and to determine the association between overweight and age, sex, ethnicity, religion and blood pressure. Random cluster proportionate to size sampling technique was used to select the respondents. Weight was recorded using TANITA model HD-309 and height was measured using SECA Body meter Model 208. A mercury sphygmomanometer was used to measure blood pressure manually. Statistical analysis was carried out using SPSS version 13. Out of the 3,333 respondents, 11.4% were found to be at risk of overweight and 8.2% were overweight. The prevalence of overweight was significantly higher in the males (10.6%) as compared to females (6.0%). Prevalence of overweight was highest in Malays (10.7%) followed by the Indians (7.1%) and the Chinese (5.9%). Prevalence of 'risk of overweight' was highest in the Indians (13.7%) followed by Chinese (12.0%) and Malays (9.8%). There was a moderate direct significant relationship between overweight and systolic blood pressure (r=0.5, r2=0.25, p<0.001) and also diastolic blood pressure (r=0.42, r2=0.18, p<0.001). The relationship between BMI and overweight was very weak (r=0.11, r2=0.01 and df=3331, p<0.001). In conclusion the prevalence of overweight among the secondary school students is high and there is a need for a comprehensive integrated population-based intervention program.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.