Dietary Habits, Social Determinants of Health and Obesity Risk in Children and Adolescents

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 January 2025 | Viewed by 5283

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Physical Education, Sports and Dietetics, University of Thessaly, 42132 Trikala, Greece
Interests: nutrition; epidemiology; gerontology; children; lifestyle; health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I am honored to have been asked to serve as a guest editor for the new Special Issue of Children entitled “Dietary habits, Lifestyle Behaviors, and Obesity Risk in Children and Adolescents”, and I am pleased to invite you to submit a relevant paper.

Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. According to the World Health Organization, more than 340 million adolescents and 39 million children are obese. Many factors can contribute to excess weight gain, including eating patterns, physical activity levels, and sleep routines. Social determinants of health, i.e., the conditions in which we live, learn, and work, also play a role.

The aim of this Special Issue is to produce a rich collection of research, articles, and opinions for clinicians, academics, and policymakers in the field of children’s wellbeing. Contributions involving all aspects of this topic will be welcomed.

I look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Alexandra Foscolou
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • nutrition
  • dietary habits
  • dietary patterns
  • lifestyle
  • behaviors
  • weight status
  • obesity
  • wellbeing
  • children
  • adolescents
  • preadolescents

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 467 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Dietary Habits in Adolescents with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Personalized Mediterranean Diet Intervention via Clinical Decision Support System—A Randomized Controlled Trial
by Alexandra Foscolou, Panos Papandreou, Aristea Gioxari and Maria Skouroliakou
Children 2024, 11(6), 635; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11060635 - 24 May 2024
Viewed by 382
Abstract
The hypothesis of this randomized controlled trial was that a clinical decision support system (CDSS) would increase adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) among adolescent females with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The objective was to assess the impact of personalized MD plans delivered [...] Read more.
The hypothesis of this randomized controlled trial was that a clinical decision support system (CDSS) would increase adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) among adolescent females with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The objective was to assess the impact of personalized MD plans delivered via a CDSS on nutritional status and psychological well-being. Forty adolescent females (15–17 years) with PCOS were randomly assigned to the MD group (n = 20) or the Control group (n = 20). The MD group received personalized MD plans every 15 days via a CDSS, while the Control group received general nutritional advice. Assessments were conducted at baseline and after 3 months. Results showed significantly increased MD adherence in the MD group compared to the Control group (p < 0.001). The MD group exhibited lower intakes of energy, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, and higher intakes of monounsaturated fat and fiber (p < 0.05). Serum calcium and vitamin D status (p < 0.05), as well as anxiety (p < 0.05) were improved. In conclusion, tailored dietary interventions based on MD principles, delivered via a CDSS, effectively manage PCOS in adolescent females. These findings highlight the potential benefits of using technology to promote dietary adherence and improve health outcomes in this population. ClinicalTrials.gov registry: NCT06380010. Full article
17 pages, 533 KiB  
Article
Schools as Hubs of Health: A Comprehensive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—Education Model for Promoting Wellness in Low-Income Communities
by Shannon A. Klisch and Katherine E. Soule
Children 2024, 11(5), 525; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children11050525 - 27 Apr 2024
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Research indicates that health interventions are most effective when they address multiple social determinants of health to support positive behavior. Schools as Hubs of Health, a comprehensive model of nutrition and physical activity education, was developed to support wellness within school communities [...] Read more.
Research indicates that health interventions are most effective when they address multiple social determinants of health to support positive behavior. Schools as Hubs of Health, a comprehensive model of nutrition and physical activity education, was developed to support wellness within school communities defined as low-income by the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). Components of the model include the following: classroom education; garden education; youth engagement; staff training; parent and community engagement; and policies, systems, and environments. Findings over the last decade indicate positive outcomes in nutrition and physical activity behaviors, youth leadership and engagement, and systems and environmental changes that support health and wellness. Full article
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13 pages, 278 KiB  
Article
Mechanisms of Stigmatization in Family-Based Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Overweight and Obesity
by Didde Hoeeg, Katherine L. Frohlich, Ulla Christensen and Dan Grabowski
Children 2023, 10(10), 1590; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children10101590 - 23 Sep 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1352
Abstract
It is well established that overweight and obesity are often accompanied by stigmatization. However, the influence of stigmatization on interventions for overweight and obesity remains unknown. Stigma may be particularly harmful to children. This study aimed to examine how stigmatization affects efforts to [...] Read more.
It is well established that overweight and obesity are often accompanied by stigmatization. However, the influence of stigmatization on interventions for overweight and obesity remains unknown. Stigma may be particularly harmful to children. This study aimed to examine how stigmatization affects efforts to reduce childhood overweight and obesity through family interventions. This research was conducted in a socially disadvantaged area in Denmark. Twenty-seven families and forty professionals participated in in-depth interviews or workshops. The data were analyzed using CMO configurations from a realist evaluation and the theory of stigmatization developed by Link and Phelan. Thus, an abductive approach was employed in the analysis, with its foundation rooted in the empirical data. The study found that the mechanisms of stigmatization could 1. restrain professionals and parents from approaching the problem—thereby challenging family recruitment; 2. prevent parents from working with their children to avoid eating unhealthy food for fear of labeling the child as overweight or obese; and 3. cause children with obesity to experience a separation from other slimmer family members, leading at times to status loss, discrimination, and self-stigmatization. The study showed how the mechanisms of stigmatization may obstruct prevention and treatment of childhood obesity through family interventions. It is suggested that the concept of stigma should be incorporated into the program theories of interventions meant to reduce childhood overweight and obesity. Full article
16 pages, 777 KiB  
Article
Attendance-Based Adherence and Outcomes of Obesity Management Program in Arab Adolescents
by Nasser M. Al-Daghri, Osama E. Amer, Malak N. K. Khattak, Syed D. Hussain, Ghadah Alkhaldi, Hanan A. Alfawaz, Mohamed A. Elsaid and Shaun Sabico
Children 2023, 10(9), 1449; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children10091449 - 25 Aug 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Pediatric obesity has become a global pandemic in the last century, contributing to short and long-term medical conditions that heighten the risk of morbidity and mortality in children. The 12-month school-based obesity management educational program aims to assess the effect of adherence to [...] Read more.
Pediatric obesity has become a global pandemic in the last century, contributing to short and long-term medical conditions that heighten the risk of morbidity and mortality in children. The 12-month school-based obesity management educational program aims to assess the effect of adherence to the lifestyle educational program and target outcomes, obesity, and hypertension. A total of 363 (nonadherent, N = 179; adherent, N = 184) Saudi school adolescents aged 12–18 were recruited from 60 schools in Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia. Anthropometrics, lipid profile, and blood glucose were measured at baseline and post-intervention. The level of adherence was based on the number of attended educational sessions, and participants were grouped accordingly into two groups: adherent group (attended ≥ 3 sessions) and nonadherent group (attended 1–2 sessions) out of a total of five sessions. Results demonstrated that significantly more participants in the adherent group achieved the primary program goal of reducing obesity indices [body weight, body mass index (BMI), and BMI z-score] than the nonadherent group. Additionally, among adherent obese participants, BMI z-score significantly decreased after the 12-month intervention (post-intervention: 1.5 ± 0.7 vs. baseline: 1.7 ± 0.6, p < 0.05), while the trend in BMI z-score modestly increased in the nonadherent obese participants post-intervention (post-intervention: 1.8 ± 0.7 vs. baseline: 1.7 ± 0.6, p > 0.05). Moreover, there was a substantial reduction in hypertension prevalence only in the adherent group (p = 0.003) and among adherent obese participants in particular (p = 0.03). Furthermore, adherence to session attendance was higher in girls than boys, which led to better outcomes among girls than boys. For the secondary outcomes, lipid profile indices increased in both groups, while no changes were observed in the glycemic profile. In conclusion, greater adherence to educational sessions achieved modest but favorable weight changes and improved blood pressure among obese adolescents. Future intervention studies should take into consideration the need to improve attendance to enhance adherence to the program among adolescents at risk. Full article
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Review

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15 pages, 650 KiB  
Review
Effectiveness of School-Based Interventions in Europe for Promoting Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors in Children
by Archontoula Drouka, Dora Brikou, Céline Causeret, Nur Al Ali Al Malla, Stéphane Sibalo, Concha Ávila, Gabriela Alcat, Anastasia E. Kapetanakou, Patricia Gurviez, Nawel Fellah-Dehiri, Marine Masson, Meropi D. Kontogianni and Mary Yannakoulia
Children 2023, 10(10), 1676; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children10101676 - 11 Oct 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1306
Abstract
The objective of this narrative review was to summarize existing literature on the effectiveness of school-based interventions, implemented in Europe, under the aim of promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors in children (6–10 years old). A search of PubMed, Scopus, EFSA and Google Scholar databases [...] Read more.
The objective of this narrative review was to summarize existing literature on the effectiveness of school-based interventions, implemented in Europe, under the aim of promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors in children (6–10 years old). A search of PubMed, Scopus, EFSA and Google Scholar databases was performed for studies published from January 2016 to June 2022. Specific search terms and exclusion criteria were used. Based on the results, diet and physical activity interventions had favorable effects on a series of health outcomes, including anthropometric parameters, biomarkers, eating behavior and self-efficacy. Diet-only interventions had a positive impact specifically on eating habits, mostly on water consumption. Most successful interventions lasted for 1 school year, and they were characterized by parental involvement and teachers’ training. Full article
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