, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 111-118
Date: 07 Jul 2012

Dietary behaviors as associated factors for overweight and obesity in a sample of adolescents from Aquitaine, France

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This study aimed to identify dietary behaviors that might be considered as associated factors for overweight or obesity among French adolescents. Forty-nine of the 536 middle and high schools in Aquitaine (southwest of France) were invited to take part in the study. For each school, participating adolescents were selected using stratification by grade. A self-report questionnaire, including information about sex, age, dietary behaviors, physical and sedentary activities, and parental socioeconomic status (SES), was filled in by adolescents during class. Overweight and obesity were defined according to the age- and sex-specific body mass index cutoff points of the International Obesity Task Force. Multivariate analysis (logistic regression) was used to identify independent dietary factors associated with overweight including obesity and obesity alone (adjustment on sex, age, parental SES, and weight status and adolescents' sedentary activity). In addition to parental SES and weight status and adolescents' sedentary activity, some dietary behaviors are also independently and significantly associated with a higher prevalence of overweight including obesity: absence (OR 1.43, 0.91–2.23) or rare (OR 1.57, 1.23–2.01) breakfast intake (p < 0.01) and absence (OR 5.03, 3.19–7.92) or rare (OR 1.90, 1.46–2.47) light afternoon meal intake (p < 0.001). All variables were also significantly and independently associated with obesity alone. This study shows that socioeconomic factors and individual behaviors are associated with overweight or obesity. These results confirm the importance to carry out multifaceted educational actions among adolescents, by promoting physical activity and healthy food choices in order to prevent overweight and promote healthy lifestyle behaviors.