ESPE Abstracts (2015) 84 P-3-883

Investigating Predisposing Factors for Childhood Obesity

Maria Magana, Kleopatra Routsi, Sofia Zyga, George Panoutsopoulos, Anastasios Ioannidis, Maria Tsironi, Anna-Maria Pistikou, Dafni-Eleni Kougioumtzi-Dimoliani, Petros Kolovos & Andrea Paola Rojas Gil


Department of Nursing, Faculty of Human Movement and Quality of Life Sciences, University of Peloponnese, Sparta, Greece


Background: Childhood obesity is considered to be an epidemic in developed countries that can negatively affect children’s health and psychology.

Aims and objectives: To investigate the nutritional and environmental factors that lead to the presence of childhood obesity and its complications.

Methods: A total of 949 students, 3–12 years old, living in Sparta–Greece, have participated in our research. Their lifestyle and eating habits were determined by using specially designed questionnaires. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were performed.

Results: 33% of children were classified as overweight or obese, while 65% had waist circumference (WC) % >90%. 36% of the boys and 29.9% of the girls were found overweight or obese (P=0.05). As for the eating habits, 8% of the total population does not eat breakfast, 15.5% eat ‘fast-food’ more than four times a week, 30% consume one fruit per week and 44% consume vegetables in a daily basis. With statistical significance (P≤0.05) we observed all the following findings. BMI% was greater in children who skip breakfast, consume fruits, legumes, grains, rice, pasta, bread and dairy products as well as during a decreased consumption of vegetables. Overall, obese children tend to skip breakfast, consume more olive oil/olives per week, exercise less and have elevated levels of blood pressure. In boys, WC% was found to increase as the time of exercise per week decreases, while it seems to be affected by stress and anxiety as well. Females that breastfed had a decreased BMI%. BMI% was increased by 12 units in children that had an obese relative.

Conclusions: In Greece, the high prevalence of overweight and obese children is regarded as a bizarre finding, since Mediterranean diet has been always associated with good health status. Consequently, there is rising awareness towards adopting proper health habits during childhood.