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Childhood Obesity in the Region of Valencia, Spain: Evolution and Prevention Strategies

Keywords: Modelling , obesity factors , prediction , overweight population , epidemiological mathematical type model

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In this study there are two main aims. The first one is to model and predict the incidence of obesity in the 3-5 years old population in the coming years in the region of Valencia, Spain. The second aim of this research is to use the constructed model to analyze the possible strategies in order to prevent the spread of obesity. At first a logistic regression statistical analysis of sociocultural variables of children with weight problems is performed. The result of this logistic regression statistical analysis suggests that sociocultural factors in the region of Valencia where the child grows up influence the development of overweight or obesity. Thus, this result permit to consider the hypothesis that the obesity is a health concern that depends on sociocultural factors and it is transmitted by the spread of unhealthy eating habits. In this way the hypothesis permits to construct a mathematical epidemiological type model in order to forecast obesity prevalence and to understand the mechanisms of the obesity spread. Using the constructed epidemiological mathematical model it is predicted that in the coming years, an increasing trend in the overweight and obese 3-5 years old children in the region of Valencia is predicted if the actual parameters of the mathematical model stay invariant. In addition, the different numerical simulations performed with the constructed epidemiological mathematical model indicate that the most likely successful strategy to tackle the obesity is through educational campaigns about the risk of unhealthy eating habits. This study shows how an epidemiological type mathematical model is an interesting tool to study the obesity transmissions dynamics in the population. It is useful to predict the prevalence of the obesity and study strategies to tackle it.


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