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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2019

Ioannis Vassiloudis and Vassiliki Costarelli

The purpose of this paper is to investigate excess body weight and abdominal obesity in relation to selected psychosocial characteristics such as self-perception…

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.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science , vol. 50 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 October 2019

Katerina Giazitzi, George Palisidis, George Boskou and Vassiliki Costarelli

This study aims to assemble and nutritionally analyze three traditional Greek hotel breakfast meals (Chalkidiki, Cyclades and Crete) and compare them with the American…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to assemble and nutritionally analyze three traditional Greek hotel breakfast meals (Chalkidiki, Cyclades and Crete) and compare them with the American, English and continental breakfast.

Design/methodology/approach

The traditional local breakfast foods and beverages for the breakfast compositions were selectively chosen predominantly from the website of the “Greek breakfast” initiative by Greek Chamber of Hotels and from other sources, following a thorough review of the literature. The breakfast meals were designed to be consumed by two people. The nutritional analysis of the meals was performed with the use of specially designed spreadsheets, the US Department of Agriculture Research Service and Greek food composition database.

Findings

The nutritional analysis of the English (45.9 g), American (41.6 g) and Cretan (38.8 g) breakfast meals revealed that these breakfast meals had the highest amount of total fat (per estimated portion) with the Cretan breakfast containing the largest amount of monounsaturated fatty acids (2.9 g/100 kcal). Moreover, the Cretan breakfast had also the lowest levels of sugars (2 g/100 kcal). The highest quantity of simple sugars was contained in the continental breakfast (7.2 g/100 kcal). The English breakfast had the highest sodium content (186.3 mg/100 kcal). Finally, the Cyclades breakfast had very high levels of potassium (184.4 mg/100 kcal) and Chalkidiki’s breakfast had the highest amount of calcium (65.2 mg/100 kcal). The three traditional Greek breakfasts and the three conventional breakfasts were grouped in two categories and compared nutritionally. The results show that the content of monounsaturated fats is significantly higher in Greek breakfast meals (p-value < 0.05) compared to the conventional ones.

Originality/value

This nutritional comparison could facilitate the promotion of traditional Greek breakfast meals in tourist destinations.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science , vol. 50 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Katerina Zervaki, Nikolaos Yiannakouris, Despina Sdrali and Vassiliki Costarelli

Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a subjective multi-dimensional concept referring to an individual’s perception of health and well-being in domains related to…

Abstract

Purpose

Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is a subjective multi-dimensional concept referring to an individual’s perception of health and well-being in domains related to physical, mental, emotional and social functioning. The current study aims at investigating possible associations between dietary quality, disordered eating attitudes and HRQOL in Greek adolescents.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 400 students (198 boys; 202 girls), 14-17 years old, were recruited from five high schools in the area of Kallithea in Athens, Greece. Standard anthropometric measurements were taken, and obesity classification was conducted using the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) cut-off points. Students completed the KIDMED index, which evaluates the degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) as a diet quality index, the EAT-26 questionnaire, which assesses disordered eating attitudes and the KIDSCREEN-27 questionnaire for children and adolescents assessing perceived HRQOL.

Findings

Disordered eating attitudes are significantly negatively correlated with the total score of HRQOL (p < 0.01) and with the subcategories: psychological well-being (p < 0.01), parents and autonomy (p < 0.01) and school environment (p < 0.001), whereas adherence to the MedDiet was positively correlated with all the components and total score of HRQOL. Linear regression analysis revealed that adherence to the MedDiet (p < 0.05), total number of meals/day (p < 0.01) and number of meals with the family (p < 0.05) were significant predictors of HRQOL in adolescents.

Research limitations/implications

The convenient sampling of 400 students was conducted from five schools, from one municipality of Athens, Greece.

Originality/value

Adherence to the MedDiet positively affects important components of HRQOL in adolescents, whereas disordered eating attitudes has a negative effect. Identifying adolescents with low HRQOL is highly important because it could result in an early detection of individualised healthcare needs and possible non-diagnosed ill-health problems.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 47 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 July 2021

Athanasios Michalis and Vassiliki Costarelli

The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate the Greek version of the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS).

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and validate the Greek version of the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS).

Design/methodology/approach

The MEDAS was translated to the Greek language forward and backward, twice and subsequently was administered to 50 healthy adult participants living in Attica, Greece. The participants had to complete the tool twice, within a period of 15 days. Participants also completed the well-recognized Mediterranean Diet Score (MedDietScore), for comparison purposes with the tested tool. Socioeconomic and anthropometric characteristics were also assessed.

Findings

There was a moderate association between the Greek MEDAS (MEDAS-Gr) and the MedDietScore [(Pearson r = 0.50, p < 0.001; Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC)=0.46, p = 0.015)]. The concordance between these two questionnaires varied between the items (Intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.62 for fruit at the highest and −0.09 for alcohol consumption). The Cronbach’s a coefficient of reliability for the Greek MEDAS was good (a = 0.62). The two administrations of the MEDAS-Gr produced similar mean total scores (7.6 vs 7.9, p = 0.090), which were correlated (r = 0.71, p < 0.001; ICC = 0.85, p < 0.001) and agreed substantially [k statistic (k)=0.72, 95% CI 0.54–0.89, p < 0.001)].

Originality/value

The MEDAS-Gr seems to be a valid tool for assessing adherence to the Mediterranean diet in the Greek population.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science , vol. 52 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 September 2020

Athanasios Michalis and Vassiliki Costarelli

The paper aims to investigate food security research in Southern Europe and selected Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to investigate food security research in Southern Europe and selected Eastern Mediterranean countries.

Design/methodology/approach

An electronic literature search was conducted using Medline/PubMed and Scopus, to identify articles and reviews that were published in the English language, between January 2014 and December 2019. Thirty-three publications met the criteria for review.

Findings

Depending on the population sample and the measurement tool, reported food insecurity differed significantly between and within countries. In Portugal, food insecurity ranged from 11 to 70%; in France, from 6.3 to 77.7%; and in Greece, from 17.3 to 82%.

Research limitations/implications

Research investigating food insecurity issues and its true prevalence across southern European and Eastern Mediterranean countries are relatively limited.

Originality/value

Food insecurity levels in the above countries vary significantly, and the different methodologies often used render the results difficult to compare.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science , vol. 51 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Vassiliki Costarelli, Tom Sanders and Sheela Reddy

Differences in faecal bile acid excretion have been reported between vegetarians and meat‐eaters. The purpose of this study is to compare fasting plasma bile acid…

325

Abstract

Purpose

Differences in faecal bile acid excretion have been reported between vegetarians and meat‐eaters. The purpose of this study is to compare fasting plasma bile acid concentrations in Asian vegetarians, white vegetarians and white meat‐eaters.

Design/methodology/approach

A human experimental study comparing fasting plasma bile acid concentrations in Asian vegetarians, white vegetarians and white meateaters. Three groups of premenopausal women have been recruited: Caucasian omnivores (n  =  19), Caucasian Vegetarians (n  =  16) and Asian vegetarians (n  =  17). Fasting plasma bile acid concentrations were determined by gas‐liquid chromatography.

Findings

Although faecal bile acid concentrations were lower in the Caucasian vegetarians than in the omnivores, fasting plasma bile acid concentrations did not differ.

Originality/value

The present results indicate that fasting levels of plasma bile acids in premenopausal women do not necessarily reflect faecal bile acid concentrations.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 36 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 October 2013

Vassiliki Costarelli, Despina Sdrali and Aggeliki Konstantopoulou

– The study aims to explore the effect of socio-economic status (SES) on energy balance behaviours and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD), in Greek adolescents.

364

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to explore the effect of socio-economic status (SES) on energy balance behaviours and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD), in Greek adolescents.

Design/methodology/approach

391 students, 14-16 years old, have been recruited from two public high schools located in low SES areas of Athens and two private high schools from higher SES areas. Students completed a specifically designed energy balance behaviours questionnaire together with the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents and the KIDMED index.

Findings

Adolescents of low SES reported lower adherence to the MD (p<0.05), higher consumption of soft drinks (p<0.001), lower breakfast consumption (p<0.001), fewer meals per day consumed with parents (p<0.05), lower physical activity levels (p<0.01) and more TV viewing hours (p<0.01) compared to adolescents of higher SES.

Research limitations/implications

Family annual income, an indicator of family SES, has not been recorded, since this was considered a sensitive and difficult information to be obtained by the adolescents.

Originality/value

This study was conducted during a period of Greek economic recession and was designed to investigate the effect of lower SES on diet quality and unhealthy behaviours in the youth. Understanding and limiting possible health inequalities in Greece, due to the economic crisis, is of paramount importance.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 43 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 October 2009

Vassiliki Costarelli and Yannis Manios

The purpose of this paper is to describe and briefly discuss the prevalence of childhood obesity in selected countries of the WHO European Region in relation to…

1282

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe and briefly discuss the prevalence of childhood obesity in selected countries of the WHO European Region in relation to socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnic origin. Emphasis was given on the most recent research papers available.

Design/methodology/approach

A search was performed on relevant papers on “Prevalence of Obesity and Overweight in relation to socio‐economic status and ethnicity” using MEDLINE and the ISI Web of Science. The search was limited to the age range 0‐20 years to the countries of the WHO European Region.

Findings

A growing number of studies suggest that children in lower‐income families in developed countries are particularly vulnerable to becoming obese. Plausible explanations for the differences in obesity prevalence in migrant children and children with lower SES include poor diet, limited opportunity for physical activity and differences in the perception of ideal body weight together with possible food security issues. It is important to stress that the rising cost of a healthy diet is of great concern.

Originality/value

Understanding the prevalence of obesity in children and the social and cultural parameters related to the phenomenon can facilitate the formation of effective public health intervention policies in counteracting childhood obesity.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 February 2009

Sarah Fleming and Vassiliki Costarelli

Taekwondo (TKD) is a weight‐classified combat sport. Athletes are required to make weight in order to compete in their chosen weight division. However, the weight…

1232

Abstract

Purpose

Taekwondo (TKD) is a weight‐classified combat sport. Athletes are required to make weight in order to compete in their chosen weight division. However, the weight management strategies that are often employed are frequently at the expense of nutritional health and sporting performance. The purpose of this study is to investigate eating behaviours and general practices used by Taekwondo (TKD) athletes in order to make weight before competition.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 30 male, international and national, TKD athletes (average age: 23.4 years±4.6) were recruited from a known TKD Club in London, UK. Weight management behaviours, beliefs and attitudes were investigated with the use of a specially designed questionnaire.

Findings

A total of 87 per cent of the TKD athletes surveyed stated that they would try to reduce body weight before competition to make weight classification and 47 per cent of the athletes reported that, in their effort to reduce weight, they would use a combination of restricting energy and fluid intake and increasing energy expenditure. A total of 80 per cent of the athletes stated that they would attempt to make weight on average six to nine times a year.

Originality/value

Food and fluid restriction in combination with increased energy expenditure were the preferred methods of weight loss employed by TKD athletes in the sample.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2007

Sarah Fleming and Vassiliki Costarelli

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the nutritional intake and body composition of Taekwondo (TKD) athletes during a two‐week period of weight management…

1740

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the current study was to investigate the nutritional intake and body composition of Taekwondo (TKD) athletes during a two‐week period of weight management as they prepare to make weight classification for an international competition.

Design/methodology/approach

Seven male, 17‐28 years old, international TKD athletes were recruited from a known World Taekwondo Federation TKD Club in London. Habitual and pre‐competition dietary intake was assessed using a three‐day and a five‐day food diary, respectively. Body weight and percentage body fat (Holtain Calipers, seven sites) were measured at the beginning of the study and 24h before competition. Body weight was also measured on the day of competition.

Findings

Energy, total carbohydrate, calcium and water intakes were below recommendations for athletes, particularly, before competition and consumption of fat and salt exceeded recommendations. Compared with baseline, the two‐week weight management period induced a significant reduction in the athletes body weight (1.2 per cent, P<0.05), however, there was no significant reduction in percentage body fat which remained stable at a very low average of 3.2 per cent (±0.8). During the 24‐h prior to weigh‐in for competition, the athletes significantly reduced their body weight by a further 3.4 per cent (2.2kg, P<0.05). The dietary analysis showed that the athletes were consuming a sub‐optimal diet both habitually and pre‐competition, which may compromise their performance and short‐ and long‐term health.

Originality/value

There has been a distinctive lack of literature on nutritional studies conducted on TKD athletes. This paper helps to fill that gap.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 37 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

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