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Eating behaviors of preschool children and its relation to childhood obesity in Jeddah City, Saudi Arabia

Author: 
Noura Saud Alshammary, Sulafa Tarek Alqutub, Iman Mohmad Wahby Salem and Manahil Nouri
Subject Area: 
Health Sciences
Abstract: 

Background: Obesity is not just an individual’s problem but a public health issue. The healthy eating habits that are acquired in early childhood contribute to similar habits later in life and influence adult health. Therefore, young children are particularly at risk for obesity because they are fully dependent on adults for their nutritional needs both at home and school environment. Objective: to evaluate differences in eating behaviors according to children’s weight, gender, age and parents’ weight at public kindergartens in Jeddah city in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in public kindergartens in Jeddah city, Saudi Arabia, from October to November 2018. The Children’s Eating Behavior Questionnaire (CEBQ) was used to assess eating behaviors. Measurements for height and weight were taken twice for each child and the average was used. Results: Parents of 198 children completed the questionnaire, 81.3% of children were normal weight, while 8.6% were obese. In terms of gender, the emotional undereating (EUE) was the only subscale that showed statistical difference between boys and girls, boys had a higher score (3.22 ± 0.79) than girls (2.91 ± 0.76) with p value< 0.001. It was observed that children with excess weight had higher scores at the subscales “enjoyment of food”, p value < 0.001. Conclusion: The results of this study showed that children in this sample had marked obesogenic-eating behavior that are related with excess weight as well as parental weight, this behavior is considered as modifiable risk factors that needs early interventions to eliminate obesity related risk factors.

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