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Research Articles

Association between Nutritional Status and Life Style Practices of Primary School Children in the Colombo District: A Pilot Study

Authors:

RMLR Thilakarathne ,

Nutrition Coordination Division, Ministry of Health, Public Health Complex, Colombo, LK
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DGNG Wijesinghe

Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the association between nutritional status and life-style practices of primary school children in the Colombo district. A cross-sectional study involving 1347 children was conducted on randomly selected 8 schools in Colombo in 2008. Life style practices were assessed using a questionnaire. Height and weight were measured and height-for-age, weight-for-age and body-mass-index for age were used to define stunting, underweight and obesity respectively. The prevalence of stunting and underweight was 3.8% and 16.6%, respectively. According to the age specific body-mass-index, 5.1% were obese, 8.9% were overweight, and 30.9% were thin. Overweight and obesity were significantly high among boys while underweight was high among girls. Daily intake of breakfast was seen only in 67.1%. Daily intake of fruits, vegetables and green leaves were 52.1%, 71.8% and 52.9%, respectively. Children who consumed breakfast daily showed significantly high daily intake of vegetables and green leaves. The frequency of consuming fast foods was significantly high among boys studied. According to the leisure activities, 73.3% were involved predominantly in sedentary type of activities. Television viewing or computing was significantly high among boys. Children who engaged in watching television while consuming food reported poor diet consuming comparatively small quantities of vegetables, green leaves, and fruits daily with a high habitual intake of soft drinks, and fast foods. It can be concluded that the nutrition challenge among primary school children in Colombo is shifting from undernutrition to overweight and obesity, with boys subjected to a higher risk.

Key words: Life-style practices; Nutritional status; Obesity; School children; Undernutrition

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i4.3790

TAR 2011; 22(4): 392-401

How to Cite: Thilakarathne, R. & Wijesinghe, D., (2011). Association between Nutritional Status and Life Style Practices of Primary School Children in the Colombo District: A Pilot Study. Tropical Agricultural Research. 22(4), pp.392–401. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v22i4.3790
Published on 13 Nov 2011.
Peer Reviewed

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