Nutritional and lifestyle determinants of central obesity in children RESEARCH

A total of 124,113 children (9.9±1.07 years old, 51% boys) were evaluated from the majority (90.89%) of schools of primary education in Greece, during the school period of 2010-2011. Anthropometric measurements (weight, height, waist circumference) were obtained by trained teachers of Physical Education. The BMI cut-off points by the International Obesity Task Force were used to define obesity status. Central obesity was estimated by waist to height ratio (≥ 0.5). Dietary habits and physical activity status were assessed through self-completed questionnaires.

In total, 23.6% of the children were overweight and 8.8% obese. Central obesity was prevalent in 33.4% of all children. Between obese and non-obese children, 95% and 23% respectively had central obesity. In both groups, children with central obesity reported infrequent breakfast and snack consumption at home, higher frequency of screenplay and higher physical inactivity status. Skipping breakfast and no snack consumption at home were the most significant lifestyle predictors of central obesity in children.

The prevalence of central obesity among Greek children is at an alarming level and constitutes a serious public health issue. Results suggest the need for a shift towards a healthier school and community environment for our children, which ensures specific eating and life style habits, such as regular healthy breakfast or more physical activity.

D. Grigorakis, G. Psarra, K. Tambalis, E. Georgousopoulou, D. Panagiotakos, L. Sidossis
Laboratory of Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics, Harokopio University


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