Association of lifestyle factors with a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in Greek children aged 10-16 years

Kostopoulou E, Tsekoura E, Fouzas S, Gkentzi D, Jelastopulu E, Varvarigou A.

Abstract

Aim: To investigate the prevalence of overweight, obesity and central obesity in students of primary and secondary education, and the association with lifestyle parameters.

Methods: 3504 students, aged 10-16 years old, from Western Greece participated in this cross-sectional epidemiological study (participation rate: 90%). Demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, physical activity and screen time data were obtained using a questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements were also obtained. Overweight and obesity were estimated using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria and central obesity using the WHtR≥0.5 and IDF criteria.

Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 19.2% and 12.1% with CDC criteria, respectively, and 20.9% and 7.2%, with IOTF criteria, respectively. Central obesity was 31.1 and 32.8% using the Waist-to-Height ratio (WHtR) ≥0.5 and International Diabetes Federation (IDF) criteria, respectively. Male gender, small number of meals, breakfast skipping, frequent consumption of school food and sweets and the presence of a computer in children’s rooms, were identified as the strongest lifestyle factors affecting weight.

Conclusion: Overweight, obesity and central obesity rates remain high among children and adolescents in Greece. The identification of risk factors associated with the manifestation of obesity and central obesity, may contribute to the implementation of targeted prevention and treatment interventions.

Keywords: children; dietary habits; obesity; physical activity; screen time.

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