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Excess body weight and abdominal obesity in relation to selected psychosocial characteristics in primary school children

Ioannis Vassiloudis (Department of Home Economics and Ecology, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece)
Vassiliki Costarelli (Human Ecology Laboratory, Department of Home Economics and Ecology, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 15 October 2019

Issue publication date: 21 May 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate excess body weight and abdominal obesity in relation to selected psychosocial characteristics such as self-perception, self-esteem and anxiety, in primary school children.

Design/methodology/approach

A school-based cross-sectional study was conducted with a total of 528 students 10-12 years of age, randomly selected, from the area of Athens, Greece. The Greek versions of the self-perception profile for children (SPPC) and the state-trait anxiety inventory for children (STAI-C) questionnaires have been used to determine the children’s self-perception/self-esteem and the status of anxiety, respectively. Standard anthropometric measurements were also taken. Pearson correlation coefficient was used to test for possible linear correlations between data variables. One-way ANOVA and independent t-test were used to determine statistically significant differences between the means of children’s body mass index (BMI) – abdominal obesity groups. For multiple comparisons, Bonferroni post-tests were run.

Findings

Overweight and obese children and children with abdominal obesity had lower scores in all of the domains of SPPC self-perception, the SPPC global self-esteem and the STAI-C anxiety levels in comparison to normal weight children. BMI and abdominal obesity correlated negatively with each one of the five domains of the SPPC self-perception (p <0.001) and the SPPC global self-esteem (p <0.001) and positively with the STAI-C anxiety levels (p <0.005). One-way ANOVA and independent t-test revealed statistically significant differences between the means of children’s BMI and abdominal obesity groups in all the domains of SPPC self-perception (p <0.001), the SPPC global self-esteem (p <0.001) and the STAI-C anxiety levels (p <0.005). There were no gender differences in the psychometric characteristics assessed in this study.

Originality/value

Primary school children with excess body weight and abdominal obesity have increased anxiety levels and they score lower in key psychosocial characteristics, in comparison to normal weight children.

Keywords

Citation

Vassiloudis, I. and Costarelli, V. (2020), "Excess body weight and abdominal obesity in relation to selected psychosocial characteristics in primary school children", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 739-750. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-06-2019-0184

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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