Objectives: To assess nutritional status, knowledge, practices and lifestyle characteristics of Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) primary school children.
Subjects and Methods: Sociodemographic, nutrition knowledge and lifestyle information were collected via an interviewer-assisted questionnaire from grade 5 to 6 participants in a cross-sectional survey; anthropometrics were collected by trained interviewers.
Results: Two hundred and ninety-seven students (mean age = 10.91 ± 1.01 years; female = 162 [54.5%]; overweight /obese = 121 [40.8%]) participated. Most were born (61.8%) or resided in TCI for more than five years (76.1%). Dietary patterns of breakfast (75.8%); ≥ 2 meals/day (81.2%); ≥ 1 snack/day (65%) and consumption of vegetables (14.5%) and fruits (27.3%) ≥ 2/day were reported. Multinomial regression examined lifestyle and sociodemographic characteristics among body mass index (BMI) categories. Breakfast-eaters were 54% less likely (OR = 0.46; p = 0.025) to be obese; consumers of < 3 meals/day were approximately twice more likely to be obese (OR = 2.074; p = 0.02); participants who “ate out” < 2 times/day (including lunch) were less likely to be overweight (OR = 0.365; p = 0.02). More boys reported strenuous activity (p = 0.05) while more girls reported moderate activity (p = 0.004). No vigorous exercise for ≥ 4 days/week was associated with obesity (OR = 2.0; p = 0.03). Most (> 80%) knew the food groups and that non-communicable diseases were related to diet and obesity (> 70%).
Conclusion: Findings should inform policy, via the “Health in All” policy initiatives, to develop multisectoral interventions to positively impact children’s nutritional status and ultimately eliminate obesogenic environments.