Longitudinal study of changes in body mass index, anthropometric measures, dietary intake and physical activity in cohorts of school-going Irish adolescents
University College Cork
The prevalence of obesity worldwide has increased dramatically over the last few decades. Poor dietary habits and low levels of exercise in adolescence are often maintained into adulthood where they can impact on the incidence of obesity and chronic diseases. A 3-year longitudinal study of anthropometric, dietary and exercise parameters was carried out annually (2005 - 2007) in 3 Irish secondary schools. Anthropometric measurements were taken in each year and analysed longitudinally. Overweight and obesity were at relatively low levels in these adolescents. Height, weight, BMI, waist and hip circumferences and TST increased significantly over the 3 years. Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) decreased significantly over time. Boys were significantly taller than girls across the 3 years. A 3-day weighed food diary was used to assess food intake by the adolescents. Analysis of dietary intake data was determined using WISP©. Mean daily energy and nutrient intakes were reported. Mean daily energy and macronutrient intakes were analysed longitudinally. The adolescents’ diet was characterised by relatively high saturated fat intakes and insufficient fruit and vegetable consumption. The dietary pattern did not change significantly over the 3 years. Boys consumed more energy than girls over the study period. A validated questionnaire was used to assess physical activity and sedentary activity levels. Boys were substantially more active and had higher energy expenditure estimates than girls throughout the study. A significant longitudinal decrease in physical activity levels among the adolescents was observed. Both genders spent more than the recommended amount of time (hrs/day) pursing sedentary activities. The dietary pattern in these Irish adolescents is relatively poor. Of additional concern is the overall longitudinal decrease in physical activity levels. Promoting consumption of a balanced diet and increased exercise levels among adolescents will help to reduce future public health care costs due to weight-related diseases.
Longitudinal study , Body mass index , Obesity , Dietry habits , Physical exercise , Anthropometric measurement , Energy intakes , Nutrient intakes , Adolescents , Ireland
O'Connor, Mairead. 2009. Longitudinal study of changes in body mass index, anthropometric measures, dietary intake and physical activity in cohorts of school-going Irish adolescents. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.