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The present study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of meeting health recommendations on diet and physical activity (having breakfast, eating fruit and vegetables, consumption of milk/yoghurt, performing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, limiting television watching) and to assess junk snack food consumption in adolescents from southern Italy. The association between healthy behaviours and abdominal adiposity was also examined.
In a cross-sectional protocol, anthropometric data were measured by trained operators while other data were collected through a structured interview.
Three high schools in Naples, Italy.
A sample of 478 students, aged 14–17 years, was studied.
The proportion of adolescents who met each of the health recommendations varied: 55·4 % had breakfast on ≥6 d/week; 2·9 % ate ≥5 servings of fruit and vegetables/d; 1·9 % had ≥3 servings of milk/yoghurt daily; 13·6 % performed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for ≥60 min/d; and 46·3 % watched television for <2 h/d. More than 65 % of adolescents consumed ≥1 serving of junk snack foods/d. Only 5 % fulfilled at least three recommendations. Healthy habits tended to correlate with each other. As the number of health recommendations met decreased, the percentage of adolescents with high abdominal adiposity (waist-to-height ratio ≥0·5) increased. The trend was not significant when the proportion of overweight/obese adolescents was considered. Logistic regression analysis indicated that male gender and watching television for ≥2 h/d were independently associated with a higher waist-to-height ratio.
Most adolescents failed to meet the five health recommendations considered. Male gender and excessive television watching were associated with abdominal adiposity.
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