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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 41–44 | Cite as

Smoking, Physical Activity and Breakfast Consumption Among Secondary School Students in a Southwestern Ontario Community

  • Bonnie Cohen
  • Susan EversEmail author
  • Steve Manske
  • Kim Bercovitz
  • H. Gayle Edward
Article

Abstract

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of smoking, low levels of physical activity, and missing breakfast among students (n=318) in grades 9 through 12 in three schools in southwestern Ontario; to see if these behaviours were associated; and, whether there were gender differences.

Methods: A self-administered survey was conducted in grade 10 English classes.

Results: The response rate was 87.1%. The prevalence of smoking was 36.2%; there was no gender difference. Only 42.8% of students ate breakfast daily; 48.8% of boys and 36.1% of girls (χ2 = 5.2; p<0.05). A higher proportion of boys (77.1%) were active for at least 30 minutes ≥3 times/week compared to girls (66.0%) (χ2 = 4.8; p<0.05). Students who were active ≥3 times/week were more likely to eat breakfast daily and, among boys, 60.4% of non-smokers ate breakfast daily compared to 31.9% of those currently smoking (χ2 = 13.3; p<0.001). There were no differences among girls. More girls (63.9%) were concerned about gaining weight compared to boys (36.1%) (χ2 = 37.7; p<0.001). Among girls, a higher proportion of those who were concerned about gaining weight were less likely to engage in physical activity or smoke, and more likely to skip breakfast compared to those who were not concerned.

Discussion: Weight concern was not associated with frequency of physical activity, smoking, or breakfast consumption among boys. The high prevalence rates for these behaviours suggests that interventions in high schools should include daily physical activity, promotion of breakfast eating (either at home or in the school), and encouragement to quit smoking.

Résumé

Objectifs: Déterminer la prévalence du tabagisme, des faibles niveaux d’activité physique et de l’absence de petit déjeuner chez les élèves (n=318) de la 9e à la 12e année dans trois écoles du Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario pour voir si ces comportements sont associés et s’ils présentent des différences selon le sexe.

Méthode: Distribution d’un formulaire auto-administré dans les classes d’anglais de 10e année.

Résultats: Le taux de réponse était de 87,1 %. La prévalence du tabagisme était de 36,2 %, sans différence selon le sexe. Seuls 42,8 % des élèves prenaient quotidiennement un petit déjeuner: 48,8 % des garçons et 36,1 % des filles (χ2 = 5,2; p<0,05). Une proportion supérieure de garçons (77,1 %) que de filles (66,0 %) pratiquait une activité physique au moins 30 minutes, trois fois par semaine (χ2 = 4,8; p<0,05). Les élèves actifs trois fois par semaine étaient plus susceptibles de prendre un petit déjeuner quotidien, et chez les garçons, 60,4 % des non-fumeurs consommaient quotidiennement le petit déjeuner, contre 31,9 % des fumeurs actuels (χ2 = 13,3; p<0,001). On n’a observé aucune différence entre les filles. Davantage de filles (63,9 %) que de garçons (36,1 %) craignaient de faire de l’embonpoint (χ2 = 37,7; p<0,001). Chez les filles, une proportion supérieure de celles qui craignaient de faire de l’embonpoint était moins susceptible de pratiquer une activité physique ou de fumer, et plus susceptible de sauter le petit déjeuner, que celles qui n’étaient pas préoccupées par leur poids.

Débat: Chez les garçons, la crainte de faire de l’embonpoint n’est pas associée à la fréquence de l’activité physique, au tabagisme ou à la consommation du petit déjeuner. Étant donné les taux de prévalence élevés de ces comportements, les interventions à l’école secondaire devraient miser sur l’activité physique quotidienne et la consommation du petit déjeuner (à la maison ou à l’école) et inciter les élèves à cesser de fumer.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bonnie Cohen
    • 1
  • Susan Evers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steve Manske
    • 2
  • Kim Bercovitz
    • 2
  • H. Gayle Edward
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family Relations and Applied NutritionUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Centre for Behavioural Research and Program EvaluationUniversity of WaterlooCanada

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