Authors' contributions: KT designed the study, performed the data collection and analysis and wrote the paper. DP and SK participated in the design of the study and critically reviewed the paper. SP participated in the data collection and interpretation. LS was involved in the study design, manuscript writing and in overall supervision of the study.
Higher prevalence of obesity in Greek children living in rural areas despite increased levels of physical activity
Article first published online: 3 JUN 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2013 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)
Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume 49, Issue 9, pages 769–774, September 2013
How to Cite
Tambalis, K. D., Panagiotakos, D. B., Kavouras, S. A., Papoutsakis, S. and Sidossis, L. S. (2013), Higher prevalence of obesity in Greek children living in rural areas despite increased levels of physical activity. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 49: 769–774. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12253
Conflicts of interest: None declared.
- Issue published online: 5 SEP 2013
- Article first published online: 3 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 JAN 2013
- Graduate Program, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of Harokopio University
- Hellenic Atherosclerosis Society
- Hellenic Heart Foundation
- Nestlé Hellas S.A.
- OPAP S.A.
- Institute for Translational Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch
- Shriners Hospital for Children. Grant Number: SSF 84090
- Sealy Center on Aging, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
- physical activity;
The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether levels of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviours could explain observed differences in the prevalence of childhood obesity in a sample of Greek children.
Epidemiological study. PA and sedentary behaviours were assessed by a self-administrated PA checklist. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from measured weight and height. A representative sample of Greek children aged 10–12 years attending fifth and sixth grade (n = 3195), living in rural and urban areas, were enrolled. Maturation status was not evaluated due to technical reasons.
Prevalence of obesity was higher among children living in rural areas as compared with urban areas (12.1% vs. 10.7%, P < 0.01). Surprisingly, children living in rural areas had higher levels of self-reported PA (P < 0.001) and met current PA guidelines to a greater extent than their urban counterparts (P < 0.05). Furthermore, boys had higher levels of total, low-to-moderate intensity and vigorous intensity physical activity, as well as sedentary behaviours, than girls (all P-values <0.05). Stratified analysis by BMI category revealed that normal weight boys and girls had higher levels of total PA and vigorous intensity physical activity compared with overweight and obese boys from the same type of setting (all P-values <0.05).
Children living in rural areas have higher levels of PA and more frequently met PA guidelines than their urban counterparts, despite a higher prevalence of obesity.