Clustering of Multiple Energy Balance-Related Behaviors in School Children and its Association with Overweight and Obesity-WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI 2015⁻2017)

Type Article

Journal Article


S. Bel-Serrat; A. Ojeda-Rodríguez; M. M. Heinen; M. Buoncristiano; S. Abdrakhmanova; V. Duleva; V. F. Sant'Angelo; A. Fijałkowska; T. Hejgaard; C. Huidumac; J. Hyska; E. Kujundzic; S. M. Milanović; G. Ovezmyradova; N. Pérez-Farinós; A. Petrauskiene; A. I.

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It is unclear how dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviors co-occur in school-aged children. We investigated the clustering of energy balance-related behaviors and whether the identified clusters were associated with weight status. Participants were 6- to 9-year-old children (n = 63,215, 49.9% girls) from 19 countries participating in the fourth round (2015/2017) of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative. Energy balance-related behaviors were parentally reported. Weight and height were objectively measured. We performed cluster analysis separately per group of countries (North Europe, East Europe, South Europe/Mediterranean countries and West-Central Asia). Seven clusters were identified in each group. Healthier clusters were common across groups. The pattern of distribution of healthy and unhealthy behaviors within each cluster was group specific. Associations between the clustering of energy balance-related behaviors and weight status varied per group. In South Europe/Mediterranean countries and East Europe, all or most of the cluster solutions were associated with higher risk of overweight/obesity when compared with the cluster 'Physically active and healthy diet'. Few or no associations were observed in North Europe and West-Central Asia, respectively. These findings support the hypothesis that unfavorable weight status is associated with a particular combination of energy balance-related behavior patterns, but only in some groups of countries.