209222 Prevalence of health risk behaviors in an underserved rural Mississippi school district

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monique S. White, MPH , School of Public Health, Walden University, Jackson, MS
Clifton C. Addison, PhD , Jackson Heart Study/Project Health, Walden University, Jackson, MS
Brenda W. Jenkins, MPH , Jackson Heart Study/Project Health, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Background: The recent accelerated rate of obesity in children is expected to track into adulthood, where it is considered to be a risk factor for many clinical disorders and disease. This study was designed to provide an accurate assessment of the prevalence of risk factors for disease among school-aged children. Methods: Students enrolled in the 9th through 12th grades from one high school in a rural Mississippi school district were selected to participate in this study. A questionnaire assessed dietary and physical activity practices by examining the students' consumption of fruits/vegetables and fats, and their daily participation in physical activity, as well as other risk behaviors. Data were analyzed to determine lifestyle choices and to assess prevalence of risk behavior. Results: In addition to the presence of other risk behaviors, almost half of the 9th grade students (48.0%) were overweight. The number of overweight students increased to 64.5% in the 10th grade to 66.7% in the 11th grade. Approximately 44.4% of the 12th graders were overweight. Conclusion: Intervention programs are needed to increase motivation to participate in fitness activity and educate youth on the necessity of fitness to promote health and prevent debilitating diseases, which afflict minority populations at higher rates than the general population. Such programs can begin the process to change the trends that currently exist regarding cardiovascular disease among African Americans in Mississippi. Reduction of overweight in the children should be a priority because being overweight during childhood and adolescence has been associated with increased adult mortality.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will discuss the prevalence of health risk behaviors among the youth

Keywords: Risk Behavior, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have considerable experience working in public health organizations and I have been instrumental in implementing this study. I have served as Health Education Coordinator for Project Health and am currently employed at Jackson State University School of Allied Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.