A French study has evaluated the influence of different lifestyle patterns, finding that a combination of low activity and high snacking predicts the risk of obesity.
The cross-sectional survey conducted by the French Food Safety Agency estimated diet in 748 children aged 3-11 years using 7-day food diaries. Parents or children were asked to report children’s weight and height and to complete questionnaires on leisure time physical activity, TV viewing and family socio-economic status. Statistical techniques were then used to establish correlations between risk of overweight and different lifestyle patterns.
The results identified three lifestyle patterns (“snacking and sedentary", "varied food and physically active" for both age groups of 3-6 and 7-11 years and "big eaters at main meals" for the 7-11 year olds) that demonstrated very different relationships with obesity. Younger children (3-6 years old) classified as “snacking and sedentary" were more likely to be overweight as were 7-11 year olds classified as "big eaters at main meals". However, older children classified as "varied food and physically active" were more likely to be lean.
It would seem that recommendations that combine certain dietary habits and encouragement of physical activity are a useful way to prevent obesity in children.
For more information, see
Lioret S et al (2008). Dietary and physical activity patterns in French children are related to overweight and socioeconomic status. Journal of Nutrition, Vol 138, pages 101-7.
EUFIC related material:
Health & Lifestyle-Healthy eating
Health & Lifestyle-Physical activity