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The Trend of Child Growth, Health Status and Socio-economic Factors in Slovakia

Sevcikova, L*; Novakova, J; Hamade, J; Jurkovicova, J*; Stefanikova, Z*; Machacova, E; Sobotova, L*; Aghova, L*

ISEE/ISEA 2006 Conference Abstracts Supplement: Poster Abstracts: Abstracts

*Institute of Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Bratislava. †National Public Health Office, Bratislava. ‡Institute of Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Bratislava.


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The life conditions impact significantly physical development and health status of children and adolescents. In the last decades important socio-economic changes as well as changes in health care system have been realised in Slovakia. The aim of study is to evaluate the trends of growth, changes in morbidity of child population during period of society transformation.

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The growth changes have been analysed on the basis of Nation-wide cross-sectional anthropometric surveys in 1981, 1991 and 2001 on representative samples (116000, 118400 and 35600) from all ages (0–18 years) both genders and last ones have been compared with the data from other European countries. Health status of children and youth has been evaluated on the basis of routine statistical data on dispensarisation (IHIS SR, 1981–2001). The data from Slovak Statistical yearbooks were evaluated. The programs EPI info and S Plus 6.0 were used for analysis.

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The continuing growth acceleration has been confirmed in boys and girls, but has slowed down in the last decade. The positive secular trend in the age of 18 years continues in boys 2 and 1.5 cm per decade, in girls it stagnates (1.9; 0.3 cm). Continuing slimming trend in Slovak adolescent girls and also less markedly in boys was confirmed. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among children have been increased 3.5% in younger children (7–11 year old) and 1% in adolescents (14–18 years), if BMI standards from 1991 have been the reference values. The prevalence is lower when using internationally agreed cut-off points of obesity. Present analysis has revealed significant increase of chronic diseases prevalence in children and youth (from 17.6% in 1982 to 30% in the year 2000). Respiratory diseases with dominant prevalence of asthma, disorders of vision, orthopaedic diseases, mental disorders, hypertension (since 1982 sevenfold), diabetes, congenital disorders and defects are increasing. There is higher amount of children from dysfunction family. Unfavourable development has been shown in social positions in majority of families, consumer price indices have sharply increased (housing, health care, transport). Trend of food consumption per 1 inhabitant/1 year revealed a reduction of meat and meat products, milk and milk product and egg consumption. The average intake of other food stuffs – fruit, vegetable, potatoes and sugar has been stagnated during followed period.

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Discussion and conclusions:

The revealed positive indicators of physical development in height of children and youth are consistent with the data from other European countries, but the trend of the body proportionality does not follow the growth in Slovak children. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Slovak girls and boys belong to lowest in Europe. Increase of chronic diseases prevalence is in contrast with trends of acceleration. Negative trends in health and developmental disproportions of Slovak children and youth require interventions in current big social differences, life style habits and continual non systematic preventive health care during periods of children life (school children, students, working youth). This work was supported in part by Grant 1/3433/06 from the Scientific Grant Agency of Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic and the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.