Preference of Food-items and Physical Activity of Peri-urban Children in Bhaktapur, Nepal
Background: Though cardiovascular diseases are mostly seen in adulthood, the foundation of diet and physical activity is largely formed during childhood. The study aimed to explore childrenâ€™s preference for diet and physical activity in a peri-urban area of Nepal because this is an important dimension to explore in the life-course approach to combat non-communicable diseases.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study to enquire young peri-urban children of Duwakot and Jhaukhel villages of Bhaktapur district, Nepal on their preferences for diet and physical activity. All eligible households with children in the age range 5-10 years as enlisted from the Jhaukhel-Duwakot Health Demographic Surveillance Site database were selected for the study. Twelve enumerators visited the selected households and facilitated the eligible children to fill in the questionnaire. We used a child-friendly photo-assisted questionnaire with face-scales that easily enabled the children to select a particular preference for each of the food item and physical activity. During analysis, food items were categorized into â€˜greenâ€™, â€˜yellowâ€™ and â€˜redâ€™ on the basis of their nutritive values. Physical activity was categorized based on severity of the activity.
Results: Four hundred and thirty seven children filled up the questionnaires. Overall, median preference scores for â€˜redâ€™ food were higher than for healthier â€˜greenâ€™ food (4.16 vs. 4.03), particularly, if mothers were self-employed. Likewise, the children preferred low over moderate-to-severe physical activity (4.16 vs. 3.50), and preference was affected by parentsâ€™ occupation and income.
Conclusions: The study objectively revealed that most of the children preferred unhealthier food-items and low physical activities. It shall be useful to consider these findings while planning health promotional activities targeted at them.
Keywords: Children; diet; preferences; Nepal; physical activity.
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