158517 Selected Nutritional Practices by Actual and Perceived Bmi Status among 823 High School Students

Monday, November 5, 2007

Nelson Atehortua, MD, MPH , Department of Health and Kinesiology - Center for the Study of Health Disparities, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Marilyn Gardner, PhD , Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Childhood and adolescent overweight is on the rise in the United States, Kentucky has the highest prevalence in the nation. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of actual and perceived weight status on nutritional practices of adolescents by gender. A modified version of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBSS) was administered to 823 High School students. Data on demographic variables such as age, gender, grade, and, ethnicity were obtained. Actual, perceived weight status and nutrition behaviors were obtained.

The majority of the respondents were caucasian (62.2%, n=511) and lower classmen (58.5%, n=477). Gender was distributed equally. Almost half of respondents were at or above the 85th percentile for age and sex; three-fourths of them were in the overweight category. Almost half of the students accurately assessed their weight status while the other half of respondents underestimated their weight. Regarding nutrition behaviors, the great majority of respondents (83.8%, n= 689%), did not consume the recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. Significant differences in nutritional behaviors were found by perceived weight status and by gender. Body image concept is fundamental to define either healthy or unhealthy nutritional habits. Findings were coherent with previous research. Effective health education and promotion interventions should be focused on body image perceptions and gender are needed to prevent or help to curb current trends.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) will be able to: 1. Describe the impact of actual and perceived weight statuses related to overweight among high school students. 2. List gender and weight status differences for adolescent overweight. 3. Discuss possible effective intervention strategies to increase awareness about childhood and adolescent overweight and curb the current trend.

Keywords: Obesity, School Health

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.