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Childhood obesity has become a modern epidemic with escalating rates. The aim of our study was to identify physical activity patterns among Greek schoolchildren and to examine their relationship with obesity.
700 adolescents age 10 to 12 years were evaluated through a standardized questionnaire. Several demographic, socioeconomic, and physical activity characteristics were recorded. Physical activity was assessed and adolescents were characterized as active and nonactive. Body height and weight were measured and body mass index was calculated in order to to classify subjects as overweight or obese (IOTF classification). Multiple logistic regression and multivariate techniques (principal components analysis) were performed.
Eight physical activity patterns were identified, including increased physical activity in weekdays and weekends, sports physical activity, vigorous, moderate, and low physical activity. Increased physical activity on weekends and vigorous physical activity in boys were negatively associated with being overweight or obese (OR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.48−0.90 and OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.49−0.88, correspondingly) and moderate physical activity was marginally positively associated in girls (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 0.97−1.69), after adjusting for several confounders.
Our findings demonstrate the important role of vigorous physical activity in the maintenance of normal weight of adolescents
Antonogeorgos, Papadimitriou, and Nikolaidou are with the 3rd Dept of Pediatrics, University of Athens, Haidari, Greece. Panagiotakos is with the Dept of Nutrition Science-Dietetics, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece. Priftis is with the Allergy Dept, Penteli Children’s Hospital, P. Penteli, Greece.