Effect of dietary habits and physical activity on nutritional status of primary and secondary school students

Overweight and obesity are a global public health problem. The World Health Organization (WHO) data from 2008report on 1.4 billion overweight adults, 500 millions of them being obese. Unfortunately, according to the WHO data from 2010,there were about 170 million young people with excessive body weight and more than 42 million obese children younger than 5years.Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the eff ects of dietary habits and physical activity on nutritional status of the surveyedstudents.Respondents and methods: In the study, we used anthropometric measurements of body weight and height. Nutritional status wasestimated based on the percentile distribution of body mass per body height by age and sex (fi rst and sixth primary school gradesand second high school grade).Dietary habits were assessed by use of a questionnaire with questions about the number and kinds of meals, their frequency andenvironment in which they were consumed, as well as their content. The consumption of sweets/salty snacks, fast food, energydrinks, coff ee, alcohol and smoking was also studied.Data were analysed by use of the SPSS PC+, v. 15 statistical software.Results: The study included 167 students (55.08% of boys and 44.91% of girls). Most of the students had normal nutritional status(64.07%), 20.95% were overweight and 14.97% were underweight. Primary school students were fatter than high school studentswere. First grade primary school students mostly had 5 meals a day, as well as those that were more physically active. Breakfast wasthe meal that was avoided most frequently. Those children that reported eating vegetables more often were not overweight. Physicalactivity was most frequently reported by primary school sixth-graders.Conclusion: Body weight of our study subjects followed the trend in the Republic of Croatia. Dietary habits changed unfavourablywith subject age; along with the lack of physical activity, it was a potential predictor of obesity.
Keywords: children, youth, physical activity, dietary habits, nutritional status
Category: -> Uncategorised
Volume: Vol. 62, No 1, january - march 2018
Authors: Nataša Dragaš-Zubalj, Sandra Pavičić-Žeželj, Eris Materljan, Sanja Stamenković, Bruna Sokolić, Vedran Zubalj
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2018;62:14-9
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13112/PC.2018.3

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