Physical activity, weight status and diet in adolescents: are children meeting the guidelines
Spencer E. Boyle, Georgina L. Jones, Stephen J. Walters
DOI: 10.4236/health.2010.210167   PDF   HTML     5,780 Downloads   11,398 Views   Citations


Childhood obesity is on the increase and maintaining regular physical activity and consuming a healthy diet have become essential tools to combat the condition. The United Kingdom government has recommended guidelines for optimal levels of diet and activity in children. The aim of this paper is to describe and compare self-reported physical activity levels, diet, and Body Mass Indices (BMI) amongst adolescent children, aged 11-15, in the South West (SW) and North West (NW) regions of England and to see if these children were meeting the current targets for optimal levels of: physical activity; fruit/vegetable consumption; fat consumption and BMI. We report the results of a cross-sectional survey of four secondary schools and 1,869 children using the self-reported Western Australian Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (CAPANS) physical activity instrument and a food intake screener questionnaire, in summer and winter. We found that 25% (469/1869) 95% CI: 23% to 27%, of children engaged in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day; 53% (995/1866) 95% CI: 51% to 56%, took 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day; while 22% (407/1861) 95% CI: 20% to 24% consumed recommended amount of fats, and 23.7% (276/1164) 95% CI: 21% to 26%, of pupils were obese or overweight as classified by their BMI. Self reported physical activity in young people regardless of area is lower than previously reported and the lack of students engaging in 60 minutes moderate to vigorous activity could have serious public health consequences. If sustained, this could lead to more overweight adults, and more ill health.

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Boyle, S. , Jones, G. and Walters, S. (2010) Physical activity, weight status and diet in adolescents: are children meeting the guidelines. Health, 2, 1142-1149. doi: 10.4236/health.2010.210167.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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