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Updated prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in 4- to 10-year-old children in Germany. Results from the telephone-based KiGGS Wave 1 after correction for bias in parental reports


The nationwide ‘German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents’ (KiGGS), conducted in 2003–2006, showed an increase in the prevalence rates of overweight and obesity compared to the early 1990s, indicating the need for regular monitoring. Recently, a follow-up—KiGGS Wave 1 (2009–2012)—was carried out as a telephone-based survey, providing parent-reported height and weight from 5155 children aged 4–10 years. Since parental reports lead to a bias in prevalence rates of weight status, a correction is needed. From a subsample of KiGGS Wave 1 participants, measurements for height and weight were collected in a physical examination. In order to correct prevalence rates derived from parent reports, weight status categories based on parent-reported and measured height and weight were used to estimate a correction formula according to an established procedure. The corrected prevalence rates derived from KiGGS Wave 1 for overweight, including obesity, in children aged 4–10 years in Germany showed that stagnation is reached compared to the KiGGS baseline study (2003–2006).

Conclusion: The rates for overweight, including obesity, in Germany have levelled off. However, they still remain at a high level, indicating a need for further public health action.

What is Known:
• In the last decades, prevalence of overweight and obesity has risen. Now a days, the prevalence seems to be stagnating.
• In Germany, prevalence estimates of overweight and obesity are only available from regional or non-representative studies.
What is New:
• This article gives an update for prevalence rates of overweight and obesity amongst children aged 4–10 years in Germany based on a nationwide and representative sample.
• Results show that stagnation in prevalence rates for overweight in children in Germany is reached.

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Fig. 1



Body mass index


German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents


Motorik-Modul Study


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The authors thank all participants and their parents for participating in the telephone interview, as well as all the colleagues at the Robert Koch Institute who were involved in conducting the study. The authors would also like to thank the team of the ‘Motorik-Modul’ (MoMo) for providing the measurements of height and weight of a subsample of the KiGGS participants.

Authors’ contributions

AKB performed the statistical analyses and wrote the manuscript. BMK, UE and AS made substantial contributions, revised the manuscript critically, and counselled AKB on statistical questions. BMK is the principal investigator of KiGGS and developed, together with UE, the correction procedure applied in this article. AKB and UE were involved in data assessment and data validation process. SS is a contributor of the ‘Motorik Modul’ MoMo and was involved in data collection and data assessment. All authors have read and approved the final version.

Author information

Correspondence to Anna-Kristin Brettschneider.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The Federal Office for Data Protection and the ethics committee of the Charité—Universitätsmedizin Berlin approved the survey.

Informed consent

A written informed consent from parents or caregivers was required prior to the interviews.


The KiGGS study was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Research and the Robert Koch Institute. MoMo is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (funding reference number 01ER1503) within the research program ‘long-term studies’ in public health research.

Additional information

Dr. Ute Ellert and Dr. Bärbel-Maria Kurth contributed equally to this work.

Revisions received: 13 January 2017; 16 January 2017; (2)

Communicated by Mario Bianchetti

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Brettschneider, A., Schienkiewitz, A., Schmidt, S. et al. Updated prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in 4- to 10-year-old children in Germany. Results from the telephone-based KiGGS Wave 1 after correction for bias in parental reports. Eur J Pediatr 176, 547–551 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00431-017-2861-8

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  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Prevalence
  • Children
  • KiGGS Wave 1