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In the Middle East and North Africa region, the nutrition transition has resulted in drastic increases in excess adiposity, particularly among women, while some types of undernutrition remain prevalent, especially among pre-school children. We assessed the magnitude, nature and associated factors of the within-household co-occurrence of anaemia in children and excess adiposity in mothers.
Cross-sectional survey using stratified two-stage random cluster sampling to survey households with women aged 20–49 years. BMI≥25·0 kg/m2 defined overweight and BMI≥30·0 kg/m2 obesity, while anaemia for children was defined as Hb<110 g/l. The associations between child anaemia and mother excess adiposity, and sociodemographic and lifestyle factors were estimated by multinomial regression.
Greater Tunis area, Tunisia, in 2009–2010.
Children aged 6–59 months living with their 20–49-year-old mothers (437 child–mother pairs).
The most prevalent double burden of malnutrition in child–mother pairs by far was the anaemic child and overweight mother (24·4 %; 95 % CI 20·1, 29·3 %). A significant proportion of pairs were anaemic child and obese mother (14·4 %; 95 % CI 11·0, 18·5 %). The co-occurrence of anaemia in child and excess adiposity in mother was neither synergetic nor antagonistic (P=0·59 and 0·40 for anaemia–overweight and anaemia–obesity, respectively). This double burden was more frequent among child–mother pairs with younger children, with mothers of higher parity and higher energy intakes.
The high prevalence of anaemic child and overweight or obese mother requires special attention e.g. through interventions which simultaneously target both types of malnutrition within the same household.
The nutrition transition has exacerbated the gender gap in health in the Middle East and North Africa region as the increase in excess adiposity has been much higher among women than men. This is not exclusive of the persistence of anaemia, generally also more prevalent among women. We assessed the magnitude and sociodemographic factors associated with gender inequality vis-à-vis the double burden of excess adiposity and anaemia.
Cross-sectional study, stratified two-stage cluster sample. BMI (=weight/height2) ≥25·0 kg/m2 defined overweight and BMI≥30·0 kg/m2 obesity. Anaemia was defined as Hb <120 g/l for women, <130 g/l for men. Gender inequalities vis-à-vis the within-subject coexistence of excess adiposity and anaemia were assessed by women v. men relative prevalence ratios (RPR). Their variation with sociodemographic characteristics used models including gender × covariate interactions.
Greater Tunis area in 2009–2010.
Adults aged 20–49 years (women, n 1689; men, n 930).
Gender inequalities in excess adiposity were high (e.g. overweight: women 64·9 % v. men 48·4 %; RPR=2·1; 95 % CI 1·6, 2·7) and much higher for anaemia (women 38·0 % v. men 7·2 %; RPR=8·2; 95 % CI 5·5, 12·4). They were striking for overweight and anaemia (women 24·1 % v. men 3·4 %; RPR=16·2; 95 % CI 10·3, 25·4). Gender inequalities in overweight adjusted for covariates increased with age but decreased with professional activity and household wealth score; gender inequality in anaemia or overweight and anaemia was more uniformly distributed.
Women were much more at risk than men, from both over- and undernutrition perspectives. Both the underlying gender-related and sex-linked biological determinants of this remarkable double burden of malnutrition inequality must be addressed to promote gender equity in health.
To develop a child- and adolescent-appropriate physical activity frequency questionnaire (PAFQ) in Tunisia, North Africa.
A PAFQ was developed from a physical activity (PA) inventory that comprised major activity components (at home, preparing meals, school time, transport, non-sport leisure, sports, prayer and sleeping time). Then, type and duration of each activity undertaken during the past week were estimated. Total energy expenditure (TEE) estimated by the PAFQ was compared with data derived from two criterion methods: heart-rate monitoring (HRM) and a 24 h PA recall (24h-R), both collected during a 3 d period including one weekday and two weekend days.
Two elementary schools and two high schools of the most developed and urbanized area, Greater Tunis.
One hundred and forty-two volunteer children and adolescents aged 10–19 years.
The PAFQ strongly was correlated with both HRM (r = 0·70; 95 % CI 0·62, 0·76) and 24h-R (r = 0·81; 95 % CI 0·77, 0·84). It featured acceptable agreement with both criterion measures, slightly underestimating TEE compared with 24h-R (−2·8 %, mean of individual differences −272·7 kJ/d; 95 % CI −490·6, −57·4 kJ/d) and moderately overestimating it compared with HRM (+11·3 %, mean of individual differences +1106·2 kJ/d; 95 % CI 845·8, 1366·6 kJ/d). Reliability ranged from moderate to good (weighted kappa coefficients from 0·47 to 0·78 and intra-class correlation coefficients between 0·79 and 0·86 for energy expenditure by PA categories), indicating strong agreement between the two assessments.
This PAFQ could be useful in the description and surveillance of PA patterns or for the evaluation of population-based interventions directed at promoting PA in Tunisian children and adolescents.
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