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Open Access Research

Differences in lifestyle behaviors, dietary habits, and familial factors among normal-weight, overweight, and obese Chinese children and adolescents

Xiaofan Guo1, Liqiang Zheng2, Yang Li1, Shasha Yu1, Guozhe Sun1, Hongmei Yang1, Xinghu Zhou1, Xingang Zhang1, Zhaoqing Sun3 and Yingxian Sun1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cardiology, the First Hospital of China Medical University, 155 Nanjing North Street, Heping District, Shenyang, 110001, People’s Republic of China

2 Department of Clinical epidemiology, Library, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, People’s Republic of China

3 Department of Cardiology, Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, People’s Republic of China

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2012, 9:120  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-120

Published: 2 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Pediatric obesity has become a global public health problem. Data on the lifestyle behaviors, dietary habits, and familial factors of overweight and obese children and adolescents are limited. The present study aims to compare health-related factors among normal-weight, overweight, and obese Chinese children and adolescents.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional study consisted of 4262 children and adolescents aged 5–18 years old from rural areas of the northeast China. Anthropometric measurements and self-reported information on health-related variables, such as physical activities, sleep duration, dietary habits, family income, and recognition of weight status from the views of both children and parents, were collected by trained personnel.

Results

The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity were 15.3 and 6.4%, respectively. Compared to girls, boys were more commonly overweight (17.5% vs. 12.9%) and obese (9.5% vs. 3.1%). Approximately half of the parents with an overweight or obese child reported that they failed to recognize their child’s excess weight status, and 65% of patients with an overweight child reported that they would not take measures to decrease their child’s body weight. Obese children and adolescents were more likely to be nonsnackers [odds ratio (OR): 1.348; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.039–1.748] and to have a family income of 2000 CNY or more per month (OR: 1.442; 95% CI: 1.045–1.99) and less likely to sleep longer (≥7.5 h) (OR: 0.475; 95% CI: 0.31–0.728) than the normal-weight participants.

Conclusions

Our study revealed a high prevalence of overweight and obesity in a large Chinese pediatric population. Differences in sleep duration, snacking, family income, and parental recognition of children’s weight status among participants in different weight categories were observed, which should be considered when planning prevention and treatment programs for pediatric obesity.

Keywords:
Overweight; Obesity; Children; Adolescents; Health-related factors