The purpose of this study was to evaluate the body mass index (BMI), physical activity (PA) and dietary habits of students living in a province of North Greece, who exercised or not exercised regularly and compare the findings to the international guidelines for health. A total of 575 male and female students participated in the study and were divided into sub-groups according to their age (9-13 yrs, n=240 & 14-17 yrs, n=335) and their athletic experience (athletes, n=243 & non-athletes, n=332). The data were collected by the Physical Activity & Lifestyle Questionnaire (PALQ) and the 24 hour Dietary Recall Questionnaire (24hDRQ). Data analysis showed that 85% of male and female athletes met international guidelines of PA for health, accumulating >60′ minutes/day of moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA), as compared to 37% of non-athletes. Moreover, the athletes accumulated significantly more MVPA as compared to their peers who did not participate in organized sports. Eating habits did not differ between athletes and non-athletes, and a percentage of 83% did not meet the international recommendations for a healthy diet. However, no statistically significant differences were found in BMI between athletes and non-athletes. These finding revealed that a significant proportion of the participants did not meet the recommended dietary and PA guidelines of international health organizations, and it seems that regular exercise did not protect young people from the problem of overweight. Thus, it is necessary to implement prevention programs that aim to improve food choices and increase PA.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the differences in the explosive strength, coordination and speed among the groups formed in 7-year old children according to their body mass index (BMI). A total of 91 children took part in the study and were divided into the following groups, according to their BMI: participants with normal body mass (n=55, height 127.40±5.13, weight 25.71±2.70, BMI ≤17.91), participants with increased body mass (n=17, height 131.88±5.17, weight 33.81±4.44, BMI ranging from 17.93 to 20.62) and obese participants (n=19, height 131.19±4.44, weight 40.25±8.30, BMI ≥20.63). Excessive weight or obesity was defined according to the recommendations of Cole et al. (2000). All of the participants were aged 7.1±4 months and attended elementary schools in the city of Nish in Serbia. In order to evaluate explosive strength, coordination and speed, three tests were utilized for each of the aforesaid abilities. The obtained data were processed using a one-way ANOVA. In the case of significant between-group differences, the Bonferroni post hoc test was utilized. The results revealed statistically significant differences among the scores of the three BMI groups in explosive strength, coordination and speed tests. The greatest one was between the group of children with normal body mass and that of obese children, a finding that was expected. .
For the last three years Greece holds a dominant place among European countries on youth’s obesity. Poor diet behaviour and physical inactivity are considered the key-factors for this epidemic expansion. The main purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA) level in overweight and non-overweight adolescent girls. Additional aims were to a) quantitatively describe the duration and intensity of PA on two weekdays and one weekend, and b) to compare PA level with the international guidelines of PA for health (Cavill, Biddle & Sallis, 2001). Forty two healthy adolescent girls living in two urban areas of Greece, aged 14 yrs (SD ±.8) participated voluntarily at the study; 22 were non-overweight (BMI 21.1, SD±1,2) and 20 were overweight or obese (BMI 27.5, SD±2,7). Their daily PA measured objectively by using the CSA 7164 accelerometer over a 4-day period (two weekdays and one weekend). For each day summary scores were calculated for: a) daily total PA, b) daily moderate PA (MPA) and c) daily vigorous PA (VPA). Compared to their non-overweight peers, overweight girls exhibited significantly lower daily accumulations of MPA and VPA for the weekdays and the weekend. A percentage of 76% of the non-overweight girls fulfilled the recommendation of the 60’min accumulated daily MVPA compared to 21% of their overweight peers. None of the participants accumulated substantial amount of VPA. These findings suggest that physical inactivity is one of the most important contributing factors to the increase of young girls’ obesity in Greece. Efforts should be made to shift the sedentary-light activity to moderate, and to increase the time of involvement on PA over weekend days, especially for the overweight girls.