by Dr. Simi Paknikar on  July 7, 2014 at 4:26 PM Health In Focus
 Obesity in Italian Students: Time to Take Action
A recently conducted Italian study throws light on various factors that could be associated with overweight and obesity in young Italians.

Obesity in children and adolescents is one of the major concerns of the modern world, with increasing availability of junk food and tendency of being couch potatoes in front of the unending television serials. Obesity does not only affect the self-esteem of the person, but can also have serious consequences like diabetes, heart disease etc. Some people may not have too much control over their obesity if it is due to genetic factors. However, obesity that arises from external factors can very well be prevented by adequate lifestyle changes.

Italy has a large number of children affected by obesity. A recent study published its results on the prevalence of obesity and overweight in 58,928 students aged 11, 13 and 15 years from Italy in 2009-2010. The data was collected through self-reported questionnaires.

The study found that boys are more likely to be overweight or obese as compared to girls in all the age groups studied.

According to the study, there are geographical differences between the prevalence of obesity in the above age groups between the Northern and Southern regions within Italy, the prevalence being double in the South than in the North.

Students who skip their breakfast had a higher prevalence of being overweight or obese as compared to those who had more than just a glass of fruit juice or milk at breakfast. Skipping breakfast has been earlier associated with more frequent snacking and overeating later during the day, which only adds up to the calorie intake.

The study also tried to correlate the prevalence of overweight including obesity with the educational qualifications of the parents. They found that obesity and overweight were less in those children whose parents were better educationally qualified.

Though this study has some limitations in terms of the methods used, it does remind us of some of the factors that could contribute to obesity in children, which if controlled early in life could prevent a number of health problems in the future.

1.Lazzeri G. Overweight among students aged 11-15 years and its relationship with breakfast, area of residence and parents' education: results from the Italian HBSC 2010 cross-sectional study.

Source: Medindia

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