Background: Non-communicable diseases among children are serious consequences of childhood obesity. However, less is known about the disparities in childhood obesity comorbidities burden. This review describes the salient pattern of disparities in the prevalence of childhood obesity-related non-communicable diseases and relevant inequalities in both high- and low/medium-income countries. Method: A systematic literature search was performed in MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycInfo, Scopus, and Web of Science databases by two independent reviewers. Inclusion criteria were as follows: age 2–18 years; the prevalence or incidence of childhood obesity comorbidities reported; and studies published in English from January 2010 to date. No restrictions on the setting. The prevalence data were analyzed using range and median for subgroups based on the country's development status, gender, and geographical region. Results: Our search identified 6,837 articles, out of which we examined 145 full-text articles and included 54 articles in the analysis. The median prevalence of childhood obesity-related hypertension was 35.6 vs. 12.7% among middle- and low-income countries compared with high-income countries; 37.7 vs. 32.9% among boys compared with girls; and 38.6, 25.3, and 20.1% in Asia, South America, and Europe, respectively. For metabolic syndrome, the median prevalence was 26.9 vs. 5.5% among middle- and low-income countries compared with high-income countries; 55.2 vs. 12.0% among boys compared with girls; and 40.3, 25.8, and 7.7% in South America, Asia, and Europe, respectively. The prevalence of childhood obesity-related non-alcoholic fatty liver disease was 47.5 vs. 23% among middle- and low-income countries compared with high-income countries; and 52.1, 39.7, and 23.0% in Asia, South America, and Europe, respectively. The median prevalence of dyslipidemia was 43.5 vs. 63% among middle- and low-income countries compared with high-income countries; 55.2 vs. 12.0% among boys compared to girls; and 73.7 and 49.2% in Australia and Europe, respectively. Conclusion: There are disparities in the prevalence of childhood obesity-related hypertension, metabolic syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, with middle- and low-income countries, boys, and Asian region having higher prevalence. Implementing targeted interventions for childhood obesity comorbidities should consider socioeconomic disparities and strengthening of research surveillance methods for a better understanding of non-communicable disease burden in the pediatric population. Systematic Review Registration: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO, identifier: CRD42021288607.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research team would like to thank Julie Hogg, Assistant Academic Librarian at Teesside University, for her significant contribution to the development of the search strategy.
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