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WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initivative (COSI) : Family Survey


WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI)

Subject Keywords: Child health, Obesity, Overweight, Weight management, Nutrition, Eating habits
Topic: Obesity
Catalogue: Data
Primary Data Sources
Type: Data
Region: Republic of Ireland

COSI is led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is part of a pan-European initiative. It is the first standardised, European-wide surveillance system for nutrition policy development. The NNSC carries out this surveillance in Ireland and collects data on children’s weight, height and waist and hip circumference. This surveillance is systematic and involves the collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of descriptive data for monitoring obesity levels and for use in programme planning and evaluation. Surveillance has been carried out in 2008 (children in 1st class, aged 6-7) and in 2010 (children in 1st class, aged 6-7 and in 3rd class, aged 8-9). In the 2010 wave of data collection, a Family Survey was sent out to consenting parents for completion and posting back to the NNSC. Included were questions on the child’s diet, physical activity and lifestyle, as well as questions about them as parents.

Access further information: National Nutrition Surveillance Centre ( World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (


Key Variables ID Other (includes any form of unique identifier other than PPSN); DOB; Sex; Geog Other (refers to any remaining coding for address. This key variable typically contains
regional-level coding composed of a group of counties, e.g. Health Service Executive Area.); Family Status; Ed Attain Mother; Labour Force Status
Unit Of Observation Individual school-going child in 1st class (aged 6-7 years) and 3rd class (aged 8-9 years)
Start Date 2010
Frequency The Family Survey was first introduced in the 2010 wave of data collection.
Target Population Target population: Consenting parents of children included in the study (see S27). Sample size: 6,363 registered children, of which 4,038 were measured in 2010. Response rate: 131 of the original 163 schools participated in 2010, giving a school response rate of 80.36%. Child response rate of 63.46% (n = 4,038).
Method Postal questionnaire
Internationally Comparable Studies As a pan-European initiative, COSI enables inter-country comparisons. In the first wave of data collection (2008), surveillance took place in 13 European countries and in the second wave (2010) in 17 European countries



Rights: © Government of Ireland
Suggested citation:

WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI). (2010) WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initivative (COSI) : Family Survey [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 18th October 2019].


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