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Diet, blood lipid profile and physical activity patterns in primary school children from a semi-rural area of Greece

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Abstract Background 

Risk factors for heart disease are becoming increasingly prevalent among young populations. The aim of this study was to assess the cardiovascular risk profile of young adolescents living in a semi-rural area of mainland Greece, Volos. Materials and methods 

A total of 198 children (106 females and 92 males) aged 11.6 ± 0.4 years were randomly recruited. Results 

Mean body mass index was 20.4 ± 3.5 kg m−2, while 30.3% of children were overweight and 6.7% were obese; no differences were observed between boys and girls. Mean plasma cholesterol (4.93 ± 0.75 mmol L−1), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (3.29 ± 0.64 mmol L−1) and triglyceride (0.97 ± 0.31 mmol L−1) concentrations were above age-specific recommended values. On the other hand, mean high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol was acceptable for 92.3% of the children. Self-reported daily energy intake (8.37 ± 3.06 MJ) was adequate for age, but intake of fat was high (42.0 ± 9.2% of energy) and that of carbohydrate was relatively low (44.5 ± 10.0% of energy). Saturated fat consumption was elevated (15.6 ± 4.3% of energy), while polyunsaturated fat intake fell short (4.8 ± 1.6% of energy). The study participants spent 9.60 ± 6.44 h week−1 on moderate to vigorous physical activities, while they devoted 16.60 ± 8.81 h week−1 to sedentary activities. Boys spent significantly more time than girls on both physical (P < 0.001) and sedentary (P = 0.001) activities. No major gender differences were observed in anthropometric, dietary and plasma lipid parameters. Conclusion 

The findings from the present study support the worrisome trends that have been documented in Greek youngsters elsewhere, and predict an unfavourable cardiovascular risk profile for the Greek population in the foreseeable future.
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Keywords: cardiovascular; children; diet; exercise; obesity; risk factors

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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