Childhood obesity surveillance initiative in the Czech Republic: the association between BMI and school environment
Radka Braunerová, Marie Kunešová, Bohumil Procházka, Jana Vignerová, Jana Parizková, Anna Šteflová, Trudy Wijnhoven, Jana Riedlová & Hana Zamrazilová
Objective: Prevalence of childhood obesity has been increasing steadily. Unfortunately, only a small number of European countries have functional system to monitor this problem. Since it is very important to have comparable data on the international level, Childhood obesity surveillance initiative has been established by WHO Europe in 2006. The objective of the initiative is to monitor prevalence of obesity and factors related to obesity among children (nutrition habits, physical activity, socio-economic factors and school environment) using standardized methodology. In this paper, we will present data from the Czech branch of the initiative concerning association between BMI and school environment.
Methods: Total number of 1704 7-years old children was examined by 46 paediatricians during preventive check-ups. The clinical examination consisted of basic anthropometry measurement (weight, height, waist and hip circumference). Special questionnaires were filled in by parents, paediatricians and school representatives (usually school director). Questions on school environment included food availability at school (e.g. soft drinks with/without sugar, water, hot drinks with/without sugar, milk, yoghurts, fruit, vegetables in canteen, vending machines or school shop), physical activity (physical training, possibility of sports during breaks, sport clubs), organization of projects aimed on healthy lifestyle propagation, etc.
Results: Among recorded factors regarding school environment, only the availability of cold drinks without sugar and salty snacks were positively associated with Z-score of BMI. Surprisingly, cold drinks without sugar were associated positively and salty snacks negatively.
Conclusion: The availability of cold drinks without sugar at school was positively associated with Z-score of BMI, whereas the availability of salty snacks was associated negatively. Possible explanation for these unexpected results could be that they are rather consequence than cause of obesity among children.