153411 Nutritional Practices among 416 Middle School Students in a Southern State

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nelson Atehortua, MD, MPH , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Dhananjaya Arekere, PhD , Center for the Study of Health Disparities, Texas A&M Univeristy, College Station, TX
Sharon Mc Whinney, PhD , Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX
B. Lee Green, PhD, MEd , Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Brian Rivers, PhD , Health Outcomes and Behavior, Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, FL
Texas has the third highest prevalence of overweight school children in the nation. The purpose of this study was to identify nutritional practices of middle school. The School Physical Activity and Nutrition survey was administered to 416 4th grade students. Data on demographic variables were obtained as well as actual and perceived weight and nutrition behaviors. Descriptive statistical and inferential analyses were performed. The respondents comprised of a diverse set of students, a majority of who were Hispanic/Latino aged between 8 to12 years. Almost three-fourths of the respondents were at or above the 85th percentile while two-thirds in the overweight category. More than half of the students perceived themselves at a right weight and nearly 20% of respondents underestimated their weight. Although a vast majority reported to have had moderate to strong exercise activities, nearly two-thirds spent at least 2 hours every day watching TV and/or playing video games. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents did not consume the recommended amounts of fruit, vegetables and dairy products and this had a statistically significant relationship with the frequency of meals in a day. There were no significant differences in nutritional behaviors by actual or perceived weight status, age, gender or ethnical background. Findings are consistent with previous research. Effective health education and promotion interventions focused children at these ages must include nutritional preferences and environmental variables as critical for success.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) will be able to: 1. Describe nutritional practices among middle school students. 2. List gender, ethnic, and weight status differences presented for children being at-risk for overweight or overweight. 3. Discuss possible effective intervention strategies to increase awareness about childhood and adolescent overweight and curb the current trends.

Keywords: Children's Health, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.