Unhealthy lifestyle habits during adolescence are linked to a higher risk of chronic degenerative disease during adulthood. The aim of this study was to assess the lifestyle habits among Italian adolescents, considering the potential influence of sex.
Data were collected from 1707 eligible students. Demographic, dietary, and lifestyle data were collected, by using KIDMED and PAQ-C instruments.
The overall population had a medium adherence to a Mediterranean diet (58%, KIDMED score: 2.11 ± 0.64). There was no statistically significant difference in adherence by sex. We found boys to be more physically active than girls (p < .001). Considering ponderal index status, boys had turned out to be more overweight and obese respectively (13% and 4% respect to 10% and 2% in female population, p < .05, respectively), due to the presence of only one risk factor (medium or low both in diet and in physical activity score).
Our results showed that our population stands at average levels both for its adherence to the Mediterranean diet and for physical activity, with males having a higher percentage of overweight and obesity. Importantly, in contrast to girls, boys have a higher risk of obesity, also in the presence of a single risk factor.
An Open Access article published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review Journal.
The full article is available as a PDF download.
Elaine S. Belansky, PhD
Kathleen Lohmiller, PhD
Benjamin C. Ingman, PhD
Nick Cutforth, PhD
Sharon Scarbro, MS
Laura Borley, MS
The Working Together Project (WTP) is a classroom-based curriculum in which rural, low-income middle school students completed “Assess. Identify. Make it Happen,” a strategic planning process to improve student health by implementing evidence-based initiatives. The curriculum consisted of 30, 55-minute lessons and 28 “workdays” for students to conduct research, create communication materials, and develop presentations. Study goals were to: (1) assess the extent to which the WTP led to the implementation of evidence-based practices; and (2) describe student-level outcomes that resulted from participating in the WTP.
We conducted a quasi-experimental, convergent mixed-methods study with 4 intervention and 2 control middle schools located in a low-income, rural region. We carried out pre/post student surveys and interviews with teachers, principals, and students.
Two of the 4 intervention schools completed the entire curriculum and implemented evidence-based practices. Students in control schools showed a decline in school connection, academic engagement, and knowledge of health problems, whereas students in the intervention arm showed increases in personal responsibility to solve problems, 21st century skills, school connectedness, and program planning skills.
When implemented fully, the WTP is a promising youth-led, adult-supported strategy for implementing evidence-based practices to promote health in schools.