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School Location and Mobility Effects to Obesity Cases Among Primary School Children

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Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to increased health problems. Estimation made by the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) shows that 400,000 children each year are becoming overweight, adding to the 14 millionplus who are already overweight and at least 3 million were obese. Malaysia was ranked as sixth in Asia highest adult obesity rate. In 2008, a statistic showed that 30% of children age 6 to 12 years were severely affected by obesity problem. Childhood obesity is particulary concerned for several reasons, and one of them is the lifestyle, including the mobility mode to school. In addition, the planning of school location with the lack of safety measures for walking and cycling encourages parents to choose a motorised-vehicle, thus contributed to children obesity. Therefore, this research is aimed to investigate the relationship between mobility modes toward obesity cases among primary school children using both geospatial and statistical analysis as to produce an evidence to the topic. Three objectives were laid out which is first, to explore the applicability of the Geographical Information System (GIS) techniques to study the school coverage area. Secondly is to investigate the relationship between mobility mode with distance to school and finally to study the relationship between the distance with the children’s BMI class. A structured questionnaire regarding on the children’s background, house location, travel mode to school and their weight and height were distributed in four selected schools. The results showed that there are 68 children was marked at overweight and obese level and this is proved that using motorised-vehicle to school is a new factor contributed to obesity cases among school children even though in small amount.
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Keywords: Children; GIS; Healthy Routes; Obesity; Primary School

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre of Studies for Surveying Science and Geomatics, Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, UiTM, SHAH ALAM, 40450, Malaysia

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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