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zoom Estrella Miqueleiz Autor

Estrella Miqueleiz Autor

Estrella Miqueleiz Autor, graduate in Pharmacy, has done her PhD research at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA) on the link between the socioeconomic position of Spanish families and childhood overweight, and to what extent factors such as diet and a sedentary lifestyle can explain this relationship. According to the PhD, “At the end of the 90s this correlation was not observed.

Nevertheless, ten years on, variables such as the frequency of eating fruit, vegetables and sweet things, and a sedentary lifestyle explains about 20% of this connection between low socioeconomic position and a tendency to overweight and obesity.” Her PhD is entitled “Socioeconomic position, obesity, unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle in the child population in Spain, 1997-2007”.

The research was based on Spanish National Health Surveys in 1995-1997, in 2001 and in 2006/7, a total sample of 18,402 children being surveyed. In order to assess socioeconomic position, the level of studies of the parents was taken into account, as was social class, based on the occupation of the head of the family. The variables of overweight and obesity was calculated on the basis of weight and height, and the factors analysed with regard to this possible correlation between socioeconomic position y overweight/obesity were: a sedentary lifestyle (undertaking physical activity during free time and time in front of the television every day) and diet patterns (frequency of consumption of vegetables, fruit y sweet foods).

Percentage risk

From the analysis it was observed that the risk of 5 to 9 years olds suffering from overweight had stabilised, although it had increased in the 10 to 15 age range. “Although not the only possible factor, one of the explanations for this might be that food habit campaigns - the consumption of fruit and vegetables and prevention of obesity – are usually aimed at the child population and not at adolescents”.

Another of the aspects thrown up by the research is that, observing specifically the low socioeconomic position variable, the prevalence of obesity is greater amongst boys than girls.

Between 1997 and 2007, in overall terms, the risk of suffering from overweight amongst children from 5 to 9 dropped by 2.2 points (from 36% to 33.8%) while in the 10 to 15 range this risk increased from 19.3 to 25.5%, almost a 6-point rise. Amongst girls, the prevalence of overweight increased by 1.9 points for the 5 to 9 range (from 34.8 to 36.7%) and by 3.2 points for the 10 to 15 one (from 13 to 16.2%).

Ms. Miqueleiz Autor has a degree in Pharmacy and a Masters in International Health and Tropical Medicine from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a Masters in Public Health from the UPNA, where she obtained her doctorate. She is currently lecturing the six-monthly subject “Sociology of Health” for the UPNA Nursing Degree. She has published articles in various scientific journals, has undertaken a research stay in the Academic Medical Center (Amsterdam) and has taken part in the international ENERGY-Project.

 * Elhuyar translation, published in