This cross-sectional study was aimed at determining the prevalence of childhood obesity and the risk factors in primary school children within the Kumasi metropolis. A total of 303 children aged 6-12 years were recruited from six schools, from both private and Government, using simple randomized sampling. Anthropometric parameters including BMI, waist circumference, height, weight and hip circumference were measured. A self-administered, semi quantitative questionnaire on demography, diet, physical activity and socioeconomic status of subject’s parents/guardians were also determined. The prevalence of childhood obesity was 2.3%. Children from the private schools were more likely to be overweight (20.9% vs. 3.7%; p<0.0001) and obese (4.3% vs. 0.61%; p<0.0001) than those from government schools. Central adipocity was associated with children who went to school by car, Private Schools, children from low income parents, low physical activity, and fast food intake (p<0.05). Overall prevalence of central obesity was 6.3%. Prevalence of Obesity using Percentage body fat was 7.6%. A significant and high mean Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, Hip Circumference, Waist to Height Ratio and Percentage Body Fat was observed in private schools than government schools (p<0.0001). Multinomial logistic regression indicated that children from private schools (aOR 5.741, 95% CI (1.97-17.01), children from high income earned parents (aOR 9.895, 95% CI (1.188-82.39) and fast food intake (aOR 2.002, 95% CI (0.321-12.49) are independent risk factors of obesity. This study showed that primary school children in the Kumasi city of Ghana are more likely to be overweight and obese and the need to monitor their food and physical activity would be helpful.
Keywords: Childhood, Obesity, overweight, risk factors, private school, government school