Dietary, lifestyle and socio-economic correlates of overweight, obesity and central adiposity in Lebanese children and adolescents

Lara Nasreddine, Farah Naja, Christelle Akl, Marie Claire Chamieh, Sabine Karam, Abla-Mehio Sibai, Nahla Hwalla
Nutrients 2014, 6 (3): 1038-62
The Eastern Mediterranean region is characterized by one of the highest burdens of paediatric obesity worldwide. This study aims at examining dietary, lifestyle, and socio-economic correlates of overweight, obesity, and abdominal adiposity amongst children and adolescents in Lebanon, a country of the Eastern Mediterranean basin. A nationally representative cross-sectional survey was conducted on 6-19-year-old subjects (n = 868). Socio-demographic, lifestyle, dietary, and anthropometric data (weight, height, waist circumference) were collected. Overweight and obesity were defined based on BMI z-scores. Elevated waist circumference (WC) and elevated waist to height ratio (WHtR) were used as indices of abdominal obesity. Of the study sample, 34.8% were overweight, 13.2% were obese, 14.0% had elevated WC, and 21.3% had elevated WHtR. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that male gender, maternal employment, residence in the capital Beirut, sedentarity, and higher consumption of fast food and sugar sweetened beverages were associated with increased risk of obesity, overweight, and abdominal adiposity, while regular breakfast consumption, higher intakes of milk/dairies and added fats/oils were amongst the factors associated with decreased risk. The study's findings call for culture-specific intervention strategies for the promotion of physical activity, healthy lifestyle, and dietary practices amongst Lebanese children and adolescents.

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