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Minerva Pediatrica 2008 February;60(1):19-25


Physical activity, health, BMI and body complaints in high school students

Alricsson M. 1, 2, Landstad B. J. 1, 2, 3, Romild U. 4, Gundersen K. T. 3

1 Department of Health Sciences Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden 2 Disability and Rehabilitation Research Unit Griffith University Logan Campus, Brisbane, Australia 3 Faculty of Education, Engineering and Nursing Nord-Trøndelag University College Levanger, Norway 4 Department of Information Technology and Media Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden


Aim. Children and adolescents in the industrial world are becoming less physically active and are adopting a sedentary lifestyle in front of computers and TV. The aim of the present investigation was to determine self-related health, physical activity, prevalence of overweight and body complaints in high school students in Norway, and to compare students in academic programs with those in vocational programs.
Methods. Seven hundred and two high school students aged 16-19 years were included in the study. A questionnaire was completed in three high schools and included questions about weight and height, health, physical activity, type of physical activity/sport, intensity, possible injuries or complaints during the last three months.
Results. Twenty three percent of the students suffers from overweight/obesity are at risk of being overweight. Males reported better health than females (P<0.02). Sixty-six percent of the study group reported body complaints during the last three months, a higher number of females than males (P=0.001). Students in vocational programs reported poorer self-related health than those in academic programs and the males reported better self-related health generally than females. Furthermore, there were a higher level of prevalence of overweight students in vocational programs than academic programs (P=0.039).
Conclusion. It is important to make it easy for school children and adolescents to do physical activity at school and during leisure time in order to prevent overweight and obesity as well as chronic diseases later in life.

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