Overweight/obesity, physical activity and diet among Australian Secondary Students - First national dataset 2009-10
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There is an increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among young people, placing them at higher risk of chronic diseases, including some cancers, later in life. Previously in Australia, there has been no standardised monitoring of adolescents’ body weight, and dietary and physical activity behaviours across all states and territories and at a national level. To address this gap, Cancer Council Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia established the National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity survey. Based on the successful Australian Secondary Students’ Alcohol and Drug survey implementation model, the National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity survey was first conducted in 2009-10 with a national representative sample of 12,188 secondary school students from year levels 8 to 11 (ages 12 to 17 years). The main findings from this survey were that, in general, students’ patterns of consumption of vegetables and fruit and time spent in physical activity and small screen recreation were less than optimal. Further, just under one in four students were classified as overweight or obese, according to objective height and weight measurements. With government funding support, the National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity survey can become a regular monitoring system and allow Australian adolescents’ dietary and physical activity habits and their prevalence of overweight and obesity to be tracked over time.
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