Examination of weight status and dietary behaviors of middle school students in Kentucky

Mary G Roseman, Wing Ka Yeung, Jen Nickelsen
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007, 107 (7): 1139-45

OBJECTIVE: There is growing interest in understanding the roles that fruit, vegetable, milk, breakfast, and soft drink consumption play in relation to adolescents' weight status. This study examines the relationship between weight status and dietary practices of middle school students.

DESIGN: This study consists of secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey given to 4,049 middle school students in central Kentucky.

METHODS: Students' self-reported height and weight data, as well as 7-day recall of fruits, vegetables, milk, soft drinks, and breakfast consumption prior to completion of the survey, were collected. Self-reported height and weight were converted to body mass index (BMI) percentile according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's classification criteria.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Measures included dietary consumption of fruits, vegetables, milk, soft drinks, and breakfast in relation to students' BMI percentile.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES PERFORMED: Descriptive statistics were extracted on demographics, BMI percentile, and food consumption. Bivariate analyses included chi2 tests of association and Spearman rank correlation.

RESULTS: Healthy weight was associated with consuming fruits, vegetables, breakfast, and milk. Underweight and healthy-weight students consumed more fruits than students who were at risk of being overweight and overweight. Healthy-weight students consumed more "other vegetables" than students who were at risk of being overweight and more "other vegetables" and carrots than overweight students. Underweight students consumed breakfast more often than all other students, and healthy-weight students consumed breakfast significantly more frequently than students at risk of being overweight and overweight. Finally, overweight students had a significantly lower consumption of milk than all other students.

CONCLUSIONS: Parents and school foodservice personnel should take these factors into consideration by developing menu strategies and tactics to encourage more healthful eating behaviors in children.

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