Affiliations: [a] Biological Engineering Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Beni Mellal, Morocco
Mohamed VI Hospital University, Marrakesh, Morocco
Corresponding author: Kamal Kaoutar, Biological Engineering Laboratory, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Sultan Moulay Slimane University, Beni Mellal, Morocco. Tel.: +212 650 882 075; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: BACKGROUND:Overweight and obesity among children and adolescents are serious public health issues worldwide. A better understanding of the relationships between obesity and lifestyle factors is necessary for effective prevention and management of obesity in youth. AIMS:This study aimed to assess the prevalence of overweight/obesity and associated factors among schoolchildren aged 12–19 years at Beni Mellal city, Morocco. METHODS:A school based cross sectional study was carried out. A total of 516 children were included in the study. The nutritional status was classified according to the reference curves of WHO (2007). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with overweight/obesity. The association between dependent and independent variables were assessed using odds ratio with 95% confidence interval and p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS:The prevalence of overweight was 12.40% and that of obesity was 5.20%. Overweight and obesity were statistically associated with gender (Odds Ratio (OR) = 10.15[95% CI 1.37–3.81], p = 0.001); skipping breakfast (OR = 9.19 [95% CI 1.42–5.17], p = 0.002) and eating cake, pastry and biscuit 1 to 3 times per week (OR = 4.14 [95% CI 1.02–3.25], p = 0.04) and 4 or more times a week (OR = 7.83 [95% CI 1.31–4.66], p = 0.005). CONCLUSIONS:This study revealed that prevalence of overweight/obesity among school-aged children in Beni Mellal city was high. Thus, promoting healthy dietary practices, particularly improving fruit and vegetable intake is essential to reduce the burden of overweight and obesity. Furthermore, it is important to strengthen nutrition education about avoiding junk food consumption and encouraging regular physical activity.