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To investigate weight concerns among adolescent boys and relationships with health indicators and family factors.
Analysis of the 2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey of 10–17-year-olds.
Schools in the Republic of Ireland.
Among 6187 boys, 25·1 % reported a desire to lose weight (weight ‘loss’ concern) and 7·7 % reported a desire to gain weight (weight ‘gain’ concern). Both types of weight concerns were associated with poor self-rated health, life satisfaction and happiness, and with more frequent emotional and physical symptoms. Family factors were associated with boys’ weight concerns. In adjusted analyses, the risk of weight ‘loss’ concerns decreased with daily family breakfasts (OR=0·80; 95 % CI 0·66, 0·97). The risk of weight ‘gain’ concerns decreased with frequent family evening meals (OR=0·77; 95 % CI 0·60, 0·99). Ease of communication with mother was associated with a decreased risk of weight ‘loss’ and weight ‘gain’ concerns among boys (OR=0·74; 95 % CI 0·60, 0·90 and OR=0·61; 95 % CI 0·44, 0·82, respectively). An open father–son relationship and having a father present in the home decreased the risk of weight ‘loss’ concerns (OR=0·69; 95 % CI 0·57, 0·82 and OR=0·81; 95 % CI 0·67, 0·98, respectively).
Body weight concerns were reported by a sizeable minority of boys and were associated with negative health outcomes. The findings support the need to promote frequent family meals and facilitate open communication in families.
To investigate the relationships between weight reduction behaviour among non-overweight schoolchildren and dietary habits, perception of health, well-being and health complaints.
Analysis of the 2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, a cross-sectional study involving schoolchildren aged 10–17 years.
Schools in the Republic of Ireland.
The proportion of children (n 3599) engaged in weight reduction behaviour (‘dieting’ among non-overweight students) was 10·3 %. Older children, females and those from higher social classes (SC) were more likely to report such behaviour. Non-overweight schoolchildren who reported weight reduction behaviour were less likely than those not engaged in such behaviour to frequently consume sweets, soft drinks, crisps and chips/fried potatoes (OR from 0·39 (95 % CI 0·17, 0·89) to 0·72 (95 % CI 0·53, 0·99)); were more likely to consume diet soft drinks (OR 1·50 (95 % CI 1·03, 2·18); and were more likely to miss breakfast during the week (OR 0·62 (95 % CI 0·48, 0·80). The risk of subjective health complaints increased (OR from 1·47 (95 % CI 1·13, 1·91) to 1·92 (95 % CI 1·48, 2·49)); as did body dissatisfaction (OR 9·17 (95 % CI 6·99, 12·02)), while perception of health and well-being decreased (OR 0·47 (95 % CI 0·36, 0·61)) to 0·54 (95 % CI 0·41, 0·70)). All analyses were controlled for age, gender and SC.
Weight reduction behaviour among non-overweight schoolchildren is associated with considerable risk to physical health and emotional well-being. Since the risks associated with such behaviour varies by weight status, health professionals and researchers need to consider these issues in parallel.
To investigate the relationships between food poverty and food consumption, health and life satisfaction among schoolchildren.
Analysis of the 2002 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, a cross-sectional survey that employs a self-completion questionnaire in a nationally representative random sample of school classrooms in the Republic of Ireland.
A total of 8424 schoolchildren (aged 10–17 years) from 176 schools, with an 83% response rate from children.
Food poverty was found to be similarly distributed among the three social classes (15.3% in the lower social classes, 15.9% in the middle social classes and 14.8% in the higher social classes). It was also found that schoolchildren reporting food poverty are less likely to eat fruits, vegetables and brown bread, odds ratio (OR) from 0.66 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.45–0.87) to 0.81 (95% CI 0.63–0.99); more likely to eat crisps, fried potatoes and hamburgers, OR from 1.20 (95% CI 1.00–1.40) to 1.62 (95% CI 1.39–1.85); and more likely to miss breakfast on weekdays, OR from 1.29 (95% CI 0.33–1.59) to 1.72 (95% CI 1.50–1.95). The risk of somatic and mental symptoms is also increased, OR from 1.48 (95% CI 1.18–1.78) to 2.57 (95% CI 2.33–2.81); as are negative health perceptions, OR from 0.63 (95% CI 0.43–0.83) to 0.52 (95% CI 0.28–0.76) and measures of life dissatisfaction, OR from 1.88 (95% CI 1.64–2.12) to 2.25 (95% CI 2.05–2.45). Similar results were found for life dissatisfaction in an international comparison of 32 countries. All analyses were adjusted for age and social class.
Food poverty in schoolchildren is not restricted to those from lower social class families, is associated with a substantial risk to physical and mental health and well-being, and requires the increased attention of policy makers and practitioners.
The aim of this study was to identify differences in food habits and lifestyle behaviours by dieting status among young people in Ireland.
Cross-sectional survey. Participants responded to a self-completion questionnaire designed by researchers on the World Health Organization's collaborative study – Health Behaviour in School Aged Children. Pupils were selected by school and classroom and the sample was stratified to be representative of the geographical distribution of school students in Ireland.
Data were collected by teachers from school pupils in their classrooms.
Data were collected from 187 schools which included 8497 pupils (51% girls) aged 9–17 years.
While a minority of pupils (12% of girls, 4% of boys) reported that they were on a diet to lose weight, a substantial proportion (28% of girls, 18% of boys) said that they should be on a diet. Dieters reported consuming unhealthy foods less frequently than non-dieters, but did not report an increased consumption of fruit and vegetables. Rather, some categories of dieters reported higher levels of coffee and tobacco use and lower exercise levels than non-dieters.
The results could indicate substitution of unhealthy foods by other unhealthy behaviours as opposed to an increased consumption of healthier foodstuffs, and suggest that both smoking and exercise need to be addressed alongside nutrition in youth health promotion.
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