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Title: Physical activity levels, obesity and associated factors in a representative sample of Maltese children
Author: Decelis, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 0767
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour are important targets in the prevention of chronic diseases. The current evidence, which is based on self-reported measures, shows low levels of physical activity in Maltese children. In the absence of objective data on a nationally representative sample of Maltese children, there is no evidence on which to base policies and no baseline data to monitor changes following interventions. Furthermore, Maltese children are considered to be amongst the most obese in the world. However, statistics are also based on self-report. The aim of this thesis is to examine physical activity, sedentary time and weight status, using robust methods, in a representative sample of 10-11-year-olds, and to study any associated correlates. Initial data from focus groups indicated unique leisure patterns in Maltese children while a pilot study using objective measures indicated high levels of inactivity and sedentary time, combined with high levels of obesity and an association between activity levels and obesity. A nationally representative survey showed extremely high rates of overweight (24.2% of boys, 16.4 % of girls) and obesity (14.8% of boys, 13.6% of girls), with no strong social or geographical patterning. The study also showed a low proportion of children (39% of boys, 10% of girls) meeting the public health guideline of 60 minutes of MVPA per day. The children also spent a lot of time per day being sedentary (560 minutes for boys, 579 minutes for girls). A strong association between physical activity and obesity was evident, particularly after school hours, while no association was observed with sedentary time. Obese boys spent considerably more time using computers on weekdays than children in other weight categories. Multivariable regression analyses of objectively measured and self-reported physical activity and screen time with socio-demographic factors and BMI identified specific subgroups in need of interventions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available