Nutrition-related health behaviours and prevalence of overweight and obesity among Polish children and adolescents
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Department of Mother and Child Health, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Department of Epidemiology, Chair of Social Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Department of Health Informatics and Statistics, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
State Higher School of Vocational Education, Kalisz
Department of Physiology, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Department of Allergology and Environmental Hazards, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Institute of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine, Warsaw, Poland
Department of Health Education, University of Szczecin, Poland
Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Children Department of Gastroenterology and Metabolic Diseases, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Department of Higiene, Chair of Social Medicine, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Corresponding author
Paulina Wojtyła-Buciora   

Department of Mother and Child Health, University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(2):332-340
An adequate mode of nutrition is among the most important environmental factors affecting the development of Man and maintenance of a good health status. An improper selection of nutrients and irregular consumption of meals may lead to overweight and obesity.

The characteristics of health behaviours of the examined population of schoolchildren, with consideration of nutrition and body weight disorders. A comparison of the opinions of schoolchildren and their parents concerning health behaviours. Development of guidelines for educational programmes carried out in the place of residence of the population of schoolchildren and their parents.

Material and Methods:
The survey covered a randomised group of schoolchildren attending elementary and secondary schools in the Kalisz Province and province of the city of Kalisz. The study was conducted in May and June 2009, in a randomly selected representative group of 1,100 boys and girls from classes V and VI of elementary schools, and 1,100 secondary school adolescents aged 16–19 and their parents. The studies of schoolchildren attending elementary and secondary schools were compared with the all-Polish studies of junior high school adolescents in the school year 2006–2007.

The respondents most often consumed 3–4 meals; however, as many as 26% of junior high school adolescents and 27% of secondary school adolescents admitted that they consume only one meal daily. The schoolchildren show inadequate nutritional habits concerning an insufficient consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish, in favour of high calorific meals and sweet snacks and drinks. Parents improperly assess the body weight of their children and perceive them as slimmer, which is not confirmed by the BMI value for age and gender.

Systematic monitoring and analysis of changes in the health behaviours of adolescents should be a basis for planning health education and promotion programmes. Educational programmes concerning various aspects of health should be implemented in an organized and complementary way, directed not only at schools, but also at entire families and local communities. Knowledge, beliefs, skills and attitudes towards health acquired during the period of adolescence decide about life style in adulthood.

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