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J Sch Health. 2015 Jul;85(7):458-66. doi: 10.1111/josh.12274.

Weight-related behaviors when children are in school versus on summer breaks: does income matter?

Author information

  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W 168th Street, rm 481, New York, NY 10032. ycw2102@columbia.edu.
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W 168th Street, 7th Fl, New York, NY 10032. smv2122@columbia.edu.
  • 3Department of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 W 168th Street, 4th Fl, New York, NY 10032. ah2890@columbia.edu.
  • 4Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, rm 730, New York, NY 10032. agr3@columbia.edu.
  • 5Department of Biostatistics, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, rm 630, New York, NY 10032. jeff.goldsmith@columbia.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Income disparities in US youth in academic achievement appear to widen during the summer because of discontinued learning among children from lower-income households. Little is known about whether behavioral risk factors for childhood obesity, such as diet and physical activity, also demonstrate a widening difference by income when children are out of school.

METHODS:

Data from US children in grades 1-12 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2008 (N = 6796) were used to estimate screen time, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and consumption of calories, vegetables, and added sugar. Linear regression was used to compare among children of households ≤185% and >185% poverty, as well as during the school year versus on school breaks.

RESULTS:

Children surveyed during summer breaks consumed fewer vegetables (-0.2 cups/day) and more added sugar (+2.1 teaspoons/day), were more active (+4.6 MVPA minutes/day) and watched more television (+18 minutes/day). However, the nonsignificant interaction between school breaks and income indicated that lower-income students were not "less healthy" than higher-income students during the summer breaks.

CONCLUSION:

Obesity-related risk factors were more prevalent during the summer and among lower-income youths, but the income disparity in these behaviors was not exacerbated when schools are not in session.

KEYWORDS:

diet; income disparity; obesity; physical activity; school health

PMID:
26032276
DOI:
10.1111/josh.12274
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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