• Effects of breakfast and transport method to school on BMI and body fat percentage in children and adolescents

      Morris, Mike; Wiseman, Alice (University of Chester, 2010-09)
      Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of breakfast habits and transport method to school on Body Mass Index (BMI) and body fat percentage in children and adolescents living in Exeter. Methods: Twenty-three males and 34 females with a mean age of 9.3 ± 2.5 years were recruited from a local primary and secondary school. Questionnaires were used to sort participants into four independent groups - active/breakfast eaters, non-active/breakfast eaters, active/breakfast skippers and non-active/breakfast skippers. Measures of height, weight, BMI and body fat percentage were taken and used to identify subjects who were overweight/over-fat or obese. The data was analysed using SPSS 17.0 to compare the prevalence of overweight and obesity and BMI body fat percentage between groups. Results: One-hundred percent of participants reported eating breakfast on most school days, leaving only two independent groups according to transport status. Primary school children who used non-active methods of transport to school were significantly heavier (30.5 ± 6.49 kg) than those who actively commuted to school (26.3 ± 5.37 kg; p = 0.002). The prevalence of overweight (p = 0.022) and over-fat (p = 0.003) were significantly greater among year 4 children who used non-active transport methods to school (15.4%), compared to those who actively commuted to school (0%). Mean BMI (p = 0.004) and body fat percentage (p = 0.008) were significantly greater among year 4 children who used non-active transport methods to school (17.0 ± 1.37 kg/m² and 20.6 ± 3.48 %), compared to those who used active transport methods to school (14.6 ± 0.70 kg/m² and 14.7 ± 3.11). Conclusions: Active transport to school is appears to be protective against overweight and obesity among children in year 4. The effects of active transport to school on BMI and body fat percentage among the whole sample and among other sample subsets are unclear and further research is required to clarify these relationships.