PREVALENCE OF OBESITY AMONG THE SCHOOL-GOING CHILDREN OF LAHORE AND ASSOCIATED FACTORS
AbstractObjective: To determine the prevalence of obesity among the school- going children (6th and 7thgrade) of Lahore and ascertain the associated factors. Method: A descriptive study with samplesize of 293 children conducted over a period of four months in two private sector schools ofLahore. Information was gathered by the help of a pre designed questionnaire after getting formalconsent from parents. Children included in the study were healthy with no reported chronic illness.Body weight was measured in minimal clothing using a weight scale; body height was measuredin erect posture without shoes using a stadiometer. Obesity, underweight and overweight weredefined by plotting BMI against age (in months and years) on WHO BMI-for-age (5–19 years[percentiles]) charts. Results: Out of 293 children 11.9% were obese (more than 97th percentile)while 21.8% were overweight (85th–97th percentile). Among obese children 74.3% were found towatch TV for 1-2 hours daily while 25.7% watch TV for 3–4 hours. 48.6% of obese children didnot participate in any field sports while 34.3% have less than 3 hours participation in field sports.Among parents of obese children, 60% were found to have little or no influence on their children’sfood intake at school whereas 22.9% parents of obese children never advise them against eatingjunk food. Parents think that ban on advertisements promoting unhealthy foods (75.1%) and use ofpopular media characters in promoting healthy foods (83.6%) and exercise can help in preventingobesity in children. Conclusion: This study shows that high prevalence of obesity and overweightamong children in private schools has direct relationship with decreased physical activity andother factors like watching TV, role of media and lack of diet control by parents.Keywords: obesity, children, school age, parents, physical activity
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