Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study

Results from the Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study (CCLaS) which investigated the wellbeing, diet and exercise levels of Cork children between April 2012 and June 2013 have just been released. Over one thousand children (1075) from 3rd and 4th classes from 27 primary schools in Cork city and Mitchelstown were recruited. 

The most worrying finding that over 50% of children have salt intakes well above the maximum recommended levels (5g/day) is of particular concern and highlights the urgent need for government regulation of the salt content of processed food. Salt intake was significantly higher in children who were overweight or obese compared to normal weight children. 

In total, one quarter (20% overweight and 5% obese) of participating children were either overweight or obese, with 7% of girls being categorised as obese compared to 4% of boys.  5% of parents reported that their children never eat breakfast before school, while 15% of parents reported their family eat a take away more than once a week.  12% of parents reported that their children do not eat fruit, while 13% do not eat vegetables.

Accelerometers monitored the activity of the children over 7 days and revealed that ¾ of the participating children achieved the 60 minutes of recommended moderate to vigorous activity every day. Boys were more likely to reach this target than girls. Activity levels were much lower in overweight and obese children compared to those of normal weight. Only one in five children walked or cycled to school on a normal day.

One in five children watched three or more hours of TV, while almost 40% spent at least one hour playing non-active game consoles on a school night. Children who were overweight or obese were more likely to watch TV and play non-active game consoles for longer periods compared to normal weight children. Overall, nearly 10% of children had inadequate sleep levels as reported by their parents.  Levels of inadequate sleep were higher in children who were overweight or obese.

Overall, 8% of children participating in this study were classified as having high blood pressure. Twice as many overweight/obese children had high blood pressure when compared to normal weight children.

CCLaS is funded by the National Children’s Research Centre in Crumlin and is led by Prof Ivan Perry, Dr Janas Harrington and Ms Eimear Keane from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCC.

Safefood have recently launched a childhood obesity campaign with key messages around decreasing intake of treat foods and sugar sweetened beverages, ensuring portion sizes are appropriate, increasing physical activity, decreasing screen time, developing a regular sleep habit.

Posted: 07/03/2014 12:26:54 by Laura Keaver


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