2022 Volume 64 Issue 3 Pages 248-258
Background: Unsuitable lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise and over-eating can cause an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure in children and expose them to obesity, which is a risk factor for lifestyle related diseases. To reduce the risk of obesity, it is necessary to understand the status of energy balance and corresponding lifestyle habits of children. Additionally, as children are influenced by the eating habits of their parents, understanding parents' food awareness becomes essential.
Objective: This study aimed to 1) clarify the status of energy balance in pre-school children and 2) examine the relationship between energy balance, lifestyle habits such as eating behavior and physical activity, and parents' food awareness.
Methods: The participants were 15 healthy boys and girls (boys: n=7, girls: n=8, Age: 72.1±8.3 months) attending a nursery school. We determined energy expenditure using the doubly labeled water method, energy intake using the habitual dietary intake questionnaire, and energy balance by comparing total energy expenditure and energy intake. Dietary habits, physical activity and parents' food awareness was determined using questionnaire surveys.
Results: The mean energy balance values of all participants were in the appropriate range; however there were variations among individuals. Excessive energy intake and less physical activity were found to cause positive energy balance. Intakes of carbohydrates and fats were linked to excessive energy intake. Parents' food awareness influenced children's excessive energy intake.
Conclusion: We suggested that low physical activity and excessive energy intake influenced excessive positive energy balance. Hence, paying attention to food intake of children and adjusting the proportions of carbohydrates and fats are important in preventing childhood obesity.