SEDENTARY BEHAVIOURS IN RELATION TO BODY-MASS-INDEX DEFINED EXCESS OF WEIGHT IN TEENAGERS LIVING INA SMALL URBAN CENTRE OF SICILY, ITALY

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Abstract

Introduction: Epidemiological studies indicate that sedentary behaviours are associated with obesity independently of physical activity.The aim of this study was to investigate the association of sedentary behaviours with excess of weight in a sample of children living in asmallest Sicilian town where several confounding factors could be presumed to play a limited role because of a very homogeneous dailylifestyle.Methods: The investigation involved a randomly selected sample of 100 pupils attending the first grade of secondary education school ofa smallest town with 5,485 inhabitants. Sedentary behaviour was assessed by administering a questionnaire including questions abouttime spent on television and other screen-based entertainment in the week during school and vacation periods. Time spent in dailyactivities, such as sleeping and meals, and physical activity was also evaluated. Height and weight were measured by the interviewer,BMI was calculated and then categorized in two strata of over- and normal weight. Cross tabulation with chi-square statistics and a onewayanalysis of variance (ANOVA) were used to evaluate the relationship between behaviours and BMI. Differences were consideredsignificant at P ≤ 0.05.Results: The participants were between 11 and 16 years old (median age 13). Forty-three were female. Overall, 68 had a normal weight,whereas 20 were overweight and 12 obese. Normal and overweight subjects did not significantly differ by sleeping hours and time spenthaving meals, though those overweight were likely to spend less time at lunch and dinner than normal weight pupils (15 minutes or lessvs. 30 or more). Similarly, the two BMI groups did not significantly differ by the average weekly hours they spent in physical activity duringboth school and vacation periods. Time spent in watching TV was also not significantly different during both periods. A strong positiverelationship was observed only between BMI and other screen-based entertainment times (videogames, internet) during school period(normal vs overweight, weekly hours mean 3,64, SD 3.66 vs 6.12, SD 5,12, P = 0.01). Remarkable, but not significant, differences weredetected between the same behaviours during the vacation period (normal vs overweight, weekly hours mean 6.15, SD 6.05 vs 9.64, SD9.43, P = 0.08).Discussion: As a cross-sectional survey, the issue of causality direction remains unsolved and overweight could cause increased timespent in screen-based entertainment activities. However, it is interesting to observe that sedentary behaviours alone appear to be associatedto differences in BMI within children and adolescent who were likely sharing most activities at school, such as mandatory physicaleducation or artistic activities, but likely out school also, because of the secluded social setting. More effective public health recommendationsshould include limiting sedentary behaviours, not only promote physical activity.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Pagine239-239
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2009

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