Body Mass Index, Dietary Habits, and Nutrition Knowledge among Primary School Students

Fatma Çelik Kayapınar*
Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Faculty of Education, Burdur-TURKEY

Problem Statement: Today, the increase in technological advances and economic opportunities, which has brought about unbalanced nutrition among children in pre and post-adolescence period, has led to an increase in body weight which may cause our children to become obese adults in the future. There is a need for studies to determine children’s nutritional state at the adolescence period in Turkey and to suggest solutions. For this reason, the problem of the study is as follows; “What are the dietary habits and level of nutrition knowledge among students in grades 6-7-8 in Burdur province?”.
Purpose of Study: The study aims to determine the levels of knowledge on nutrition and dietary habits among students in grades 6, 7, and 8 in Burdur province.
Methods: In this study, a survey model in cross-sectional nature was employed. The study universe was composed of grades 6, 7, and 8 in the official primary schools during the 2007-2008 academic year in Burdur province. The sample group consisted of 613 students randomly selected from the study universe. The data collection instrument was composed of two sections. The first section was formed to socio-demographic features of students, the second section included 18 items, which aimed to test participants’ knowledge and habits about nutrition.
Findings and Results: Of all the participants, (43%) students were found to be “underweight”, (37.1%) were determined as “normal weight” and (3. 1%) were determined as “overweight” according to BMI values. In the comparisons between sexes, no statistically significant difference was found between the BMI values of male and female students. While it was observed that the participants generally had sufficient amount of information on nutritional content of food, they were only found to be confused about the type of nutrition found in milk. The amount of daily water intake among students aged between 11 and 15 is sufficient in 59% of the students; however, 38% of the students do not drink sufficient amount of water.
Conclusions and Recommendations: In conclusion, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and academic achievement. The key points of nutrition information should be presented to children. Since it is the mother who arranges the nutritional intake at home, families and class teachers should be facilitated to attend various educational programs to enable them to teach healthy dietary habits.
Keywords: Adolescents, body mass index, nutrition, habits