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An Assessment of Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviours of Adolescents in Selected Secondary Schools in Guyana

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Background: In Guyana, the five leading causes of death are ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus and hypertension. Maintaining healthy eating habits and adequate daily physical activity could prevent many of these conditions.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the dietary and physical activity behaviours of adolescents in selected secondary schools in Guyana.

Methods: A cross-sectional Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey was conducted in 12 secondary schools; two schools from each of the coastal regions 2−6 and Georgetown, the capital city of Guyana; 724 students in Forms one to four participated. A National Youth Physical Activity and Nutritional Survey (NYPANS) tool was used for data collection. Height and weight were measured using standard protocols. Descriptive and inferential statistics 95% confidence intervals and Chi-square test were computed using SPSS IBM 20.

Results: Fifty-four per cent of students reported participating in physical activity that made them sweat and breathe hard for at least 20 minutes on three or more of the previous seven days. Almost half (48.7%) of the students played video or computer games for one or more hours on an average school day and 56.3% of students reported not attending physical education (PE) classes at all school. Only 12.6% and 12.9% of students reported eating two or more cups of fruit and vegetables, respectively each day. Conclusion: Results from this study reveal that participation in healthy dietary and physical activity behaviours among adolescents in selected secondary schools of Guyana, is far from optimal.

20 Apr, 2015
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e-Published: 18 Dec, 2015
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