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Messages from the department for childhood obesity of Chania General Hospital, Crete, Greece

The department of Childhood obesity of Chania General Hospital is working since early 2001 and has studied 50 children and adolescents aged 6-16 yrs old (18 males, 32 females) until now. Some interesting observations aroused through our contact with the above children and their families:
1) By using charts for body-weight index for age percentiles provided by the 1st Pediatric Clinic of the University of Athens, it came out that 64% of the studied children are obese (>97th percentile) and 37% are overweight (75th-97th percentile). The average BMI (Body Mass Index) is 29.9 for male and 27.8 for female children.

2) Evidence aroused from questionnaires for the frequency and kind of food, confirmed the prevalence of the western nutrition model.
3) Application of our proposed model of Mediterranean nutrition resulted in reduction of Body Weight for 7 males and 15 females.
4) The Mediterranean nutrition model is well known by the Greek family and even more the Cretan one, although it is mostly supported by its elderly members. In our study group the grandmother was responsible for the preparation of the daily family menu in a percentage of 30%. This resulted in correct choices regarding the quality of food but exaggeration in the suggested quantities.
5) Studied children lack of regular physical activity due to overburdened daily programs.
6) We followed up on the studied group, fortnightly in the beginning and monthly afterwards, for a period of 6-12 months. There was a non-compliance of 30% after 2-3 months, due to lack of children psychiatric support, inevitable condition in our town, although so important in dealing with children obesity.
Greek children have their excellent physical environment and their traditional nutrition model as allies - we have the moral obligation to be their allies too, in the effort of preventing or curing obesity.

A. Vassiliadi, M. Christodoulaki, D. Athanasopoulos, C. Kanitsaki, A. Palkousourgia, F. Barabouti, E. Dana, E. Balomenaki
Chania General Hospital, Greece



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