Dietary intake and physical activity of normal weight and overweight 6 to 14 year old Swiss children

I. Aeberli, M. Kaspar, M.B. Zimmermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Principles and questions under study: The prevalence of overweight is increasing in Swiss children, and they are at increased risk for hypertension and insulin resistance. Better understanding of how food intakes and activity patterns differ between overweight and normal weight children is needed to develop intervention strategies to control childhood adiposity. The aim of the study was therefore to compare nutrient intake, dietary patterns and physical activity in overweight and normal weight children in Switzerland. Methods: The subjects were healthy 6 to 14-year-old normal weight and overweight children (n = 74 and n = 68 respectively). Dietary intakes were assessed during three home visits with two 24-hour recalls and one 1-day food record. Questionnaires on physical activity and social background were completed. Results: The carbohydrate and fat contents of the diet as a percent of energy did not differ comparing normal and overweight children, but the percentage of protein was significantly higher in overweight children. Intakes of energy, carbohydrates and fat were not significantly correlated with body mass index (BMI) standard deviation scores (SDS) after controlling for age, gender and total energy (for carbohydrates and fat). However, protein intake significantly predicted BMI-SDS after controlling for age, gender and total energy. Similarly, meat intake predicted BMI-SDS after controlling for age, gender and total energy, but none of the other analysed food groups were predictors. Time spent watching television and time spent in organised sports activity were significantly correlated with BMI-SDS. The educational level of mothers of overweight children was significantly lower than of mothers of normal weight children. Conclusion: Intakes of fat and saturated fat in Swiss children are 20% and 50% higher, respectively than recommended intakes. Higher protein intake, higher intake of meat and more hours spent watching TV and playing computer games are associated with overweight in primary school-aged Swiss children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-430
JournalSwiss medical weekly
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • type-2 diabetes-mellitus
  • for-disease-control
  • body-mass index
  • energy-intake
  • childhood obesity
  • food-habits
  • adolescents
  • switzerland
  • consumption
  • fatness

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Dietary intake and physical activity of normal weight and overweight 6 to 14 year old Swiss children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this