Health determinants among a sample of Portuguese children
Introduction: The current lifestyles suggest risk behaviors that are the basis of a country’s health profile.
Objectives: The objective of this study was the assessment of health determinants and its association with socio-demographic variables among a sample of Portuguese children from 3 to 10 years old.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was designed with a total of 1617 children from public schools, from the two main school groups of Tondela and Vouzela, Portugal. The final study sample was built with a total of 1365 children aged between 3 and 10 years old. Data collection was accomplished by the distribution of a self-administered questionnaire to the parents and caregivers of the children.
Results: It was found that the older children had a lower adherence to healthy eating habits and a higher prevalence of physical activity. The boys had higher levels of physical activity and higher prevalence of sedentary behaviors, in comparison with girls. The residence area of the children was associated with a higher prevalence of fastfood consumption and sedentary behaviors.
Conclusions: It becomes noticeable the need to make an intervention on the most vulnerable social groups to obtain more effective health equality. Health promotion strategies should be seriously considered in communities in order to improve healthy lifestyles among Portuguese children and their families.
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