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Research Articles

Junk Food Consumption, Physical Activity and Nutritional Status of Adolescent School Children: A Case Study in Ratnapura District of Sri Lanka

Authors:

U. L. N. S. Ekanayake,

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
About U. L. N. S.
Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture
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D. G. N. G. Wijesinghe

University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
About D. G. N. G.
Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture
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Abstract

Junk food is rich in fats, sugar, salt and calories. Excess consumption of junk food leads to various health and nutritional disorders. The association between junk food consumption at breakfast of adolescent school children, their physical activity level and BMI status was determined in the current study. A cross-sectional study involving 300 male and female students of the age range 12-14 years from four randomly selected schools in Ratnapura district was conducted in 2019. Information regarding physical activity, breakfast practices and energy expenditure was obtained using a pre-tested questionnaire filled by the students. The criteria recommended by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) were used to define obesity and overweight, sex and age-specific body mass index (BMI). The study showed, although 72% of the students were aware of the unhealthiness of the junk food habit and more than 85% of the parents were aware and students were knowledgeable about the nutrient facts, 72.7% consumed it due to the taste and the rest due to its convenience. The frequent junk food consumers at breakfast were more obese (p = 0.002) and overweight (p =0.003) compared to occasional junk food eaters most of whom were in the normal BMI range. A negative correlation was observed between BMI and energy expenditure (Pearson correlation = -0.49) where a higher BMI was observed with inactive (p < 0.001) or minimally active (p < 0.002) students. A nutritional transition from underweight to overweight and obesity related to junk food consumption is evident from the above data in Ratnapura district of Sri Lanka.
How to Cite: Ekanayake, U.L.N.S. and Wijesinghe, D.G.N.G., 2021. Junk Food Consumption, Physical Activity and Nutritional Status of Adolescent School Children: A Case Study in Ratnapura District of Sri Lanka. Tropical Agricultural Research, 32(1), pp.105–113. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v32i1.8446
Published on 01 Jan 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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