Students Living in the Islands are Heavier and have Lower Fitness Levels Compared to their Mainland Counterparts; Results from the National Action for Children’s Health (EYZHN) Program

Giannis Arnaoutis, Konstantinos D. Tambalis, Michael Georgoulis, Glykeria Psarra, Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, Labros S. Sidossis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Few studies have examined variations in obesity by geographic location in youth and its relation with fitness levels. The present study investigated the association between geographic status (islands versus mainland), excess of body weight and fitness levels among 335.810 schoolchildren (male: 51.3%, 6–18 y, during the school year 2014–2015). Students’ anthropometric parameters and fitness levels - accessed via the Euro-fit test - were measured by trained physical education teachers and evaluated according to published norms. Prevalence of overweight (23.0 Vs 21.8%) and obese (10.1 Vs 8.0%) was significantly higher for students living in the islands contrary to their mainland counterparts. A significant difference was also observed for centrally obese children (33.5 Vs 28.2%). Except for speed test.408), in all other four fitness tests, the students from the islands presented significantly lower performance (≤25th percentile of published age- and sex-specific normative values) versus their mainland counterparts. Boys and girls living in the islands had 48% and 37% increased odds of low physical fitness (as a total), respectively, compared to their mainland counterparts. Likewise, children living in islands presented increased odds of being overweight or obese by 19% and 15% in boys and girls, respectively, as compared to those living in the mainland. Increased general and abdominal adiposity have a direct negative impact on students’ performance in Physical Fitness tests. Our data highlight the problem of excessive body weight that children living in rural areas, face.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBehavioral Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Keywords

  • Central children
  • fitness tests
  • obesity
  • physical activityobesity

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