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Public Health Nutr. 2007 Jul;10(7):739-46. Epub 2007 Feb 22.

Food habits and physical activity patterns among Palestinian adolescents: findings from the national study of Palestinian schoolchildren (HBSC-WBG2004).

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Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium.



To describe the food habits and physical (in)activity patterns and to investigate the relationship with sociodemographic factors among Palestinian adolescents.


The Palestinian Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) is a cross-sectional survey of grades 6, 8, 10 and 12. Students completed a modified version of the international HBSC questionnaire. A total of 8885 students were included in this analysis; 53% were from the West Bank and 47% from the Gaza Strip.


Adolescents in the West Bank consume more fruit, meat, chicken, sweets and soft drinks, but less vegetables than adolescents in Gaza (P<0.01). Girls reported more daily consumption of fruit, vegetables and sweets than boys (P<0.001), and less consumption of soft drinks, milk, meat and chicken (P<0.01). Boys were physically more active than girls (P<0.01), whereas girls reported doing more homework (P<0.001). Both boys and girls reported less physical activity with increasing age (P<0.001). Consumption of fruit and milk was positively associated with both parents' education, while consumption of meat, chicken and soft drinks was positively associated with mother's education only. Having breakfast on schooldays was positively associated with the father's education. Physical activity and television viewing were associated with the mother's education (P<0.01). The parents' level of education had no effect on vegetable consumption and dieting status.


This study indicated that there are problems with Palestinian adolescents' eating, dieting and physical activity. Regional, gender and parental socio-economic status differences should be taken into account in developing interventions. More detailed studies are needed with more elaborate instruments about food habits and physical activity of adolescents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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