Introduction: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of obesity, and obesity related characteristics among primary school students in terms of age and gender.
Material and Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out between March 15, 2017 and June 3, 2017 with students (N: 1550) going to four junior high schools with the same socioeconomic level in four districts in the city center of İzmir province where school health studies were conducted. Of these students, 1003 who volunteered to participate in the study were included in the study. The Socio-demographic Characteristics Questionnaire, and Nutritional Characteristics and Habits Form child / parent were used to collect data. Anthropometric measurements (height, weight) were performed.
Results: The mean age of the participating students was 8.73 ± 1.35 (min-max: 7-12) years. Of them, 53.1% were girls. 38.6% were overweight and 16.6% were obese. The foods most consumed by the students were gevrek (Turkish bagel) (55.8%), poacha (Turkish pastry with cheese filling) (46.1%) and chocolate (43.5%). The amount of milk they consumed per day was 1 cup (min-max: 0.25-6). The girl participants consumed fruits (X2=10.88; p = 0,004) and legumes (X2=11,568; p = 0,003) more than did the boy participants (X2=10.88; p = 0.004). The boy participants consumed carbonated drinks more than did the girl participants (X2= 0.44, p <0.000).
Conclusions: The results of the study revealed that the obesity prevalence among the participating students was related to gender, age, parental BMI, time spent on computer and television, and dietary preferences. To protect children from childhood obesity, regulation of the risky obesogenic physical and social environments will be a priority and an important step.