Clinical research
Prevalence of obesity in children aged 6-12 years in Greece: nutritional behaviour and physical activity
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Submission date: 2011-09-30
Final revision date: 2011-12-23
Acceptance date: 2012-02-04
Online publication date: 2012-10-30
Publication date: 2012-10-31
Arch Med Sci 2012;8(5):859–864
Introduction: During the last two decades, obesity has proved to be one of the most important problems of public health, and it is considerably more frequent in developed countries, not only in adults, but in children, too. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children.
Material and methods: Two thousand three hundred and seventy-four pupils in primary education were considered for the study (1206 boys and 1168 girls).
Results: In the population-based study, the proportion of overweight children was 23.9%, of obese children 7.3%, and of those with central obesity 35.5%.
The boys were obese in a higher percentage than the girls (9.2% vs. 5.3%, p < 0.05). The obesity rates were gradually reduced as the children were growing older. The nutritional habits which were identified to have a positive association with obesity were the following: skipping breakfast, not consuming fruits and vegetables, and consuming bread and soft drinks. Children’s healthy nutrition in school was related to lower rates of generalised and central obesity, while the hours spent watching TV were positively associated with all types of obesity.
Conclusions: Results from the study suggest that a high proportion of children are overweight or obese. Therefore, it is important to adhere to a healthy lifestyle which emphasizes healthy food choices and habits, regular physical activity, and limiting screen time.