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© Borgis - New Medicine 2/2008, s. 29-35
*Wojciech Chalcarz, Sylwia Merkiel, Zdzisława Hodyr
NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF PRESCHOOL CHILDREN FROM PABIANICE
Food and Nutrition Department of the Eugeniusz Piasecki University School of Physical Education in Poznan
Head of the Department: Dr hab. Wojciech Chalcarz, prof. nadzw. AWF
Summary
Aim: The aim of this study was to assess nutritional status in preschool children from Pabianice, a town in central Poland. Material and methods:Anthropometric and biochemical indices were used to assess nutritional status in 187 5-6-year-old children, including 78 girls and 109 boys, who attended preschools in Pabianice. Parents filled in questionnaires on general information about the children and their families and about health status of the children and their families. They also expressed their own opinion about their children´s body weight and health status. Statistical analysis was carried out by means of the SPSS 12.0 PL for Windows computer program. The studied population was divided according to gender. Gender had a statistically significant impact on taking medicines and on allergies other than food allergy, as well as on the following indices of nutritional status: chest circumference, eight skinfold thicknesses – subscapular, chest (axillary and lateral), triceps, biceps, suprailiac, abdominal and knee – serum protein and glucose, and atherogenic index LDL-Ch/HDL-Ch.
Results: The results of our study showed that anthropometric indices of nutritional status in the studied preschool children from Pabianice were similar to those measured in their peers from other regions of Poland, which indicates a lack of differences in somatic development.
Conclusion: Due to abnormal cholesterol concentration in serum in a high percentage of the studied children, it is essential to change their diets and, in individual cases, take pharmacotherapy into consideration. A nutritional education programme, including knowledge on physical activity, for parents and preschool staff, should be implemented.
Introduction
Monitoring food habits and nutritional status in people at various life stages, especially in preschool children, is of vital importance not only to the science of human nutrition but, above all, to public health. On one hand, it is due to the need to follow the children´s development in relation to food habits and physical activity (1). On the other hand, it is crucial for early prevention of diet-related diseases, with particular emphasis on overweight and obesity (2), cardiovascular diseases (3), type 2 diabetes (4) and hypertension (5).
It has been proved beyond doubt that adequate nutrition during childhood determines the child´s fitness in adulthood, protects against diet-related diseases (2) and prolongs life. The benefits of appropriate nutrition increase if it is accompanied by a physical activity programme (1, 2).
Aim
Keeping constant assessment of nutritional status in preschool children is even more important if we take into account the scarcity of articles on this issue published in Poland. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess nutritional status in preschool children who attended preschools in Pabianice.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Anthropometric and biochemical indices were used
to assess nutritional status in 187 5-6-year-old children, including 78 girls and 109 boys, who attended preschools in Pabianice. The research was approved by the Bioethics Committee of the Poznan University of Medical Sciences.
Anthropometric indices included body height and weight, shoulder and hip breadth, circumferences of arm, forearm, chest, waist, abdomen, hip, thigh and calf, and the following skinfold thicknesses: subscapular, chest (axillary and lateral), triceps, biceps, suprailiac, abdominal, knee and calf. Body mass index (BMI) was also calculated.
Percentile growth charts (6) were used to classify BMI as one of the following: below the 3rd percentile – considerably underweight; from the 3rd to the 10th percentile – underweight; from the 10th to the 25th percentile – slim; from the 25th to the 75th percentile – weight appropriate for height; from the 75th to 90th percentile – tendency to overweight; from the 90th to the 97th percentile – overweight; above the 97th percentile – obese.
Biochemical indices included protein, glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triacylglycerols measured in serum. Serum LDL cholesterol was determined from a regression equation (7). Atherogenic indices were also calculated: TCh/HDL-Ch and LDL-Ch/HDL-Ch, where TCh denotes total cholesterol [mg/dl]; HDL-Ch – HDL cholesterol [mg/dl]; and LDL-Ch – LDL cholesterol [mg/dl].
Serum protein and glucose were compared to the reference values of Jakubowski et al. (8) and lipids were compared to the values of Gidding et al. (9).
Parents filled in questionnaires on general information about the children and their families and about health status of the children and their families. They also expressed their own opinion about their children´s body weight and health status.
Statistical analysis was carried out by means of the SPSS 12.0 PL for Windows computer program. The studied population was divided according to gender.
RESULTS
Table 1 shows general information about the studied children and their families, health status of the children and their families, and parents´ opinion on their children´s body weight and health status, according to gender. Gender had a statistically significant impact on taking medicines and suffering from allergies other than food allergy. The percentage of boys who took medicines was more than twice as high as girls, while the percentage of boys who suffered from other allergies was almost three times as high as girls.
Table 1. General information about the studied children and their families, health status of the children and their families, and parents´ opinion on their children´s body weightand health status, according to gender.
No.ParameterGirls (n=78)Boys (n=109)Total (n=187)
1.Child´s age [%]5 yrs29.125.927.2
6 yrs 70.974.172.8
2.Mother´s age [years]x?sd30.9?4.131.3?4.631.1?4.4
3.Father´s age [years]x?sd32.3?6.233.0?4.632.7?5.3
4.Mother´s education [%]Primary3.87.25.8
Vocational30.425.227.4
Secondary57.056.856.8
Higher8.910.810.0
5.Father´s education [%]Primary2.63.63.2
Vocational48.748.248.4
Secondary42.140.040.9
Higher6.68.27.5
6.Family [%]Two-parent88.690.189.5
One-parent11.49.910.5
7.Number of children in the family [%]One38.033.035.1
Two55.757.156.5
Three5.15.45.2
Four1.34.53.1
8.The sequence of the child in the family [%]First58.459.859.3
Second37.734.836.0
Third2.63.63.2
Fourth1.31.81.6
9.Birth weight [kg]x?sd3.2?0.53.3?0.53.2?0.5
10.Medicines being taken by the child [%]10.123.217.8
11.Food allergies [%]5.19.87.9
12.Other allergies [%]5.114.310.5
13.Familial diabetes [%]22.815.218.3
14.Familial obesity [%]20.319.619.9
15.Familial myocardial infarction [%]21.517.018.8
16.Familial hyperlipidaemia [%]1.31.81.6
17Parents´ opinion on their children´s body weight [%]Underweight6.39.88.4
Appropriate87.386.686.9
Overweight0.00.90.5
Obesity1.31.81.6
I don´t know5.10.92.6
18.Parents´ opinion on their children´s health status [%]Good91.184.887.4
Not good2.52.72.6
I don´t know6.312.59.9
Bold type denotes statistical significance at p≤0.05.
Table 2 presents anthropometric indices in the studied children according to gender. Gender had a statistically significant impact on chest circumference and all of the skinfold thicknesses except for calf skinfold. Mean value of chest circumference was higher in boys and mean values of skinfold thicknesses were higher in girls.
Table 2. Anthropometric indices in the studied children according to gender.
No.ParameterGirls (n=78)Boys (n=109)Total (n=187)
1.Body height [cm]114.8?5.2115.2?6.2115.0?5.8
2.Body weight [kg]20.4?3.220.9?3.820.7?3.6
3.BMI [kg/m2]15.4?1.615.7?1.715.6?1.6
1.Shoulder breadth [cm]24.9?1.325.1?1.525.0?1.4
2.Hip breadth [cm]18.2?1.018.4?1.318.3?1.2
3.Arm circumference [cm]17.6?1.517.7?1.817.7?1.7
4.Forearm circumference [cm]17.3?1.117.6?1.417.5?1.3
5.Chest circumference [cm]55.1?3.356.0?3.555.6?3.4
6.Waist circumference [cm]51.5?3.652.3?3.952.0?3.8
7.Abdomen circumference [cm]54.4?4.954.4?5.154.4?5.0
8.Hip circumference [cm]60.2?4.558.7?7.459.3?6.4
9.Thigh circumference [cm]35.1?3.434.2?3.734.6?3.6
10.Calf circumference [cm]23.9?1.723.7?1.923.7?1.9
11.Subscapular skinfold thickness [mm]6.9?3.26.1?2.96.4?3.1
12.Chest axillary skinfold thickness [mm]6.9?3.26.0?3.06.4?3.1
13.Chest lateral skinfold thickness [mm]5.1?2.14.6?1.94.8?2.0
14.Triceps skinfold thickness [mm]8.7?2.67. 8?2.68. 2?2.6
15.Biceps skinfold thickness [mm]7.3?2.76.5?2.46.8?2.5
16.Suprailiac skinfold thickness [mm]5.7?3.04.6?2.35.1?2.6
17.Abdominal skinfold thickness [mm]8.6?4.07.5?4.18.0?4.1
18.Knee skinfold thickness [mm]10.1?2.19.2?2.39.6?2.3
19.Calf skinfold thickness [mm]5.3?1.65.3?1.65.3?1.6
Bold type denotes statistical significance at p≤0.05.

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Adres do korespondencji:
*Wojciech Chalcarz
Departament of Food and Nutrition
University School of Physical Education
Droga Dębińska Str. 7
61-555 Poznań/Polska
tel.: +48 61 835 52 87
e-mail: chalcarz@awf.poznan.pl

New Medicine 2/2008
Strona internetowa czasopisma New Medicine