Mal J Nutr 23(2): 211 - 218, 2017

Factors Associated with Obesity among School Children in Amman, Jordan
Al- Dalaeen AM & Al-Domi HA


ABSTRACT

Introduction: This study aimed to investigate the association between obesity, sedentary behaviour, television (TV) watching, small screen recreation (SSR), and perinatal life influences (breast-feeding, birth weight) among Jordanian school children.
Methods: A total of 117 school children (56 obese and 61 normal weight) aged between 11 and 15 years were selected by using multistage cluster sampling method. Parents were requested to complete the first part of a questionnaire on family background,while the second part on adolescent sedentary behaviour was completed by the participants in the school. Anthropometric data were collected and presence of fat mass (%FM) was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis.
Results: Sedentary behaviour (hours/day) was significantly higher in obese school children compared to normal weight (4.43±0.60, 3.29±0.68, respectively; P <0.05), and positively associated with BMI (r=0.270, P<0.05). Normal weight children spent less time on watching TV (hours/day) compared to obese children (2.01±0.10, 2.34±0.16, respectively; P<0.05), and spent 2.55±1.6 (hours/day) in small screen recreation (SSR) compared to 3.89±1.0 (hours/day) of obese children. Both watching TV and SSR was significantly associated with BMI (r=0.260, r=0.201, respectively; P<0.05). Duration of exclusive breastfeeding (months) was significantly higher in normal weight than obese children (7.70±3.01, 5.05±2.01, respectively; P<0.05), and negatively associated with BMI (r=-0.254) and %FM (r =-0.330).
Conclusion: Sedentary behaviour and watching TV were important risk factors for obesity among 11-15 years old Jordanian school children. A national policy promoting active living and reducing sedentary behaviour among school children is recommended.

Keywords: Birth weight, breastfeeding, obesity, school children, sedentary behaviour

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