• Comprehensive school health, the social determinants of health, and the health status of children

      Spurrell, Julie.; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2007-06-29)
      As children are becoming increasingly inactive and obese, there is an urgent need for effective early prevention and intervention programs. One solution is a comprehensive school health (CSH) program, a health promotion initiative aimed at educating students about healthy behaviours and lifestyles, which also provides a link between the school, students, families, and the surrounding community. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between different components of CSH programs, as well as three determinants of health (gender, social support, socio-economic status), and physical activity, on the aerobic fitness and body mass index (BMI) of children. A newly developed and pilot-tested survey derived from Health Canada's fourpart CSH model (instruction, social support, support services, and a healthy physical environment) was sent to elementary school principals. Data on the gender, physical activity, parental education, and social support levels of students from these schools were gathered from a previous study. Multiple regression procedures were conducted to estimate the relationships between CSH components, the social determinants of health, physical activity, and BMI and aerobic fitness. Results showed that three CSH components were significantly associated with both BMI and aerobic fitness values in children, but accounted for less than 5% of the variance in both variables. Physical activity partially mediated the relationship between the significant CSH components, BMI, and particularly aerobic fitness. Furthermore, the social determinant and physical activity variables played independent roles in aerobic fitness values. No moderating effects of the social determinants were discovered.
    • Examining the potential application of childhood stature in assessing adolescent overweight and obesity

      Akseer, Nadia; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2011-03-08)
      Background: Increasing Overweight and Obesity (OwOb) prevalence in pediatric populations is becoming a public health concern in many countries. The purpose of this study was to determine if childhood stature components, particularly the Leg Length Index (LLI = [height - sitting height]! height), were useful in assessing risk of OwOb in adolescence. Methods: Data was from a longitudinal study conducted in south Ontario since 2004. Approximately 2360 students had body composition measurements including sitting height and standing height at baseline. Among them, 1167 children (573 girls, 594 boys) who had weight and height measured at the 5 th year follow-up, were included in this analysis. OwOb was defined using age and sex specific BMI (kg!m 2 ) cut-off points corresponding to adults' BMI ~ 25. Results: Overall, 34% (n=298) of adolescents were considered as OwOb. The results from logistic regression analysis indicated that with 1 unit increase in LLI the odds of OwOb decreased 24% (Odds Ratio, [95% Confidence Interval], 0.76, [0.66-0.87]) after adjusted for age, sex and baseline waist circumference. Further adjusting for birth weight, birth order, breastfeeding, child's physical activity, maternal smoking, education, mother's age at birth and mother's BMI, did not change the relationship. Our results also indicated that mother's smoking status is associated with LLI. Discussion: Although LLI measured at childhood in this study is related to OwOb risk in adolescents, the underlying mechanism is unclear and further study is needed.
    • Prevalence of overweight and obesity in children from urban and rural Niagara

      Duncan, Kristy D. M.; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2006-06-15)
      Purpose: The influence of environment in the development of overweight and obesity is an ongoing concern. This investigation examined the influence of urbanization on the rates of childhood overweight and obesity. Method: 2167 (1090M, 1077F) grade four children from 75 schools in Ontario's Niagara Region were sampled. A sophisticated algorithm overlaying electoral boundaries, population densities, and the knowledge of community members was used to classify schools into one of three location categories: urban {N= 1588), urban fringe {N= 379), and rural (A^= 234). Each subject was measured for: height, weight, and aerobic performance (Leger). Physical activity was evaluated with the self-report Participation Questionnaire (free-time and organized sport activities), and teacher's evaluations of student activity. Overweight (overweight and obesity combined) was measured both as a continuous (BMI) and categorical variable (BMI category), to evaluate the prevalence by location. A multivariate analysis was used to test for a suppression effect. Results: BMI and BMI category did not differ significantly by location or gender, and no evidence of a gender interaction existed. According to both a linear and logistic regression, physical activity or fitness levels did not suppress the influence of location on BMI and BMI category. Age, gender, free-time activity, organized sports, fitness level, and number of siblings, were all found to significantly influence overweight. Conclusions: It is plausible that the prevalence of overweight does not differ in urban and rural children from the Niagara Region. Further investigation is recommended, examining subjects by individual location of residence, in multiple regions throughout Ontario.
    • Secretory immunity in overweight and obese versus normal-weight early-and late-pubertal females

      Corbett, Lauren.; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2008-06-15)
      Obesity is a condition associated with a wide variety of health problems including hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, certain forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gallstones (157). TTiere is growing evidence that obesity may also be related to compromised immune function due to altered metabolic, psychological, and physical attributes (93). The aim of this study was to compare: a) immunity-related variables such as frequency of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) levels between overweight/obese (OB) and normal weight (NW) early-pubertal and late-pubertal girls, and b) stress-related variables such as Cortisol, melatonin, the melatonin/cortisol ratio, testosterone and the testosterone/cortisol ratio. Physical activity levels, stress indicators, and fatigue were used to explain potential differences in the dependent variables. It was hypothesized that the OB females would have lower melatonin (M) and higher Cortisol (C) and testosterone (T) levels compared with NW girls, regardless of maturity status. The altered levels of melatonin, Cortisol, and testosterone, would result in decreased M/C and T/C ratios, despite the increase in testosterone in OB females. It was hypothesized that this altered hormonal status results in a compromised immunity marked by higher frequency of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) and decreased levels of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA). It was also hypothesized that OB girls would participate in less hours of physical activity than their NW counterparts and that this would relate to their stress and immunity levels. Forty (16 early- and 24 late-pubertal) overweight and obese females were compared to fifty-three (27 eariy- and 26 late-pubertal) age-matched normal-weight control subjects. Participants were categorized as early-pubertal (EP) or late-pubertal (LP) using Tanner self-staging of secondary sex characteristics. Subjects were classified into the two adiposity groups according to relative body fat (%BF), where normal weight (NW) subjects had a %BF less than 25%, and overweight and obese (OB) subjects had a %BF greater than 27.5%. Participants completed a number of questionnaires and information was collected on menstrual history, smoking history, alcohol and caffeine consumption, and medical history. Following the determination of maturity status, a complete anthropometric assessment was made including height, body mass, and body composition. All questionnaires and measurements were completed during a one-hour visit between 1 500 and 1900 hours Relative body fat was assessed using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Resting saliva samples were obtained and assayed (ELISA) for testosterone, Cortisol, melatonin and secretory immunoglobulin A. Physical activity was self-reported using the Godin- Shephard Leisure time questionnaire, and quantified using Actigraph GTIM accelerometers, which participants wore for seven consecutive days from the time they woke up in the morning, until the time they went to bed. Late-pubertal girls also completed questionnaires on their perceived stress and fatigue. Finally, all participants also filled out a one-month health log to record frequency of symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). Significant age effects were found for testosterone, Cortisol, incidence of sickness, and sIgA when controlling for physical activity, however there were no significant effects of adiposity on any of the variables. There was a trend which neared-significance for an effect of adiposity on sIgA (p=0.01). There were no significant differences between the groups on the total selfreported leisure-time physical activity in METs per week, however EP girls recorded significantly greater levels of moderate, hard, and very hard physical activity from accelerometers. Results of the perceived stress and fatigue questionnaires in late-pubertal girls demonstrated that contrary to what was hypothesized, NW girls reported more stress and more fatigue than OB girls. Results of the present study suggest that excess adiposity in early- and latepubescent girls may not have a negative impact on immunity as hypothesized.