Social environment factors, diet quality, and body weight in 12-year-old children from four public schools in Puerto Rico

P R Health Sci J. 2014 Jun;33(2):80-7.


Objective: To explore the association of social-environment (SE) factors and diet quality (DQ) with weight status in a group of children in Puerto Rico (PR).

Methods: A cross-sectional study in a sample of 114 12-year-old children enrolled in 4 public schools in the San Juan Metropolitan area in Puerto Rico (PR) during the 2012-2013 school year. These children completed a self-administered questionnaire on socio-demographic characteristics and SE, with information on family meal patterns; parental feeding styles; parental, peer, and school support for healthy eating; physical activity (PA); and frequency of PA and sedentary times. The participants also completed at 24-hour dietary recall interview to determine DQ. This was assessed with the Healthy Eating Index (HIE)-2010, an instrument that evaluates compliance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated and categorized as healthy weight, overweight, or obese.

Results: 36% of participants were overweight/obese. In terms of DQ, 55% had "poor" DQ, 45% had diets that "need improvement", and none had "good" DQ. Children of healthy weight (75.0%) reported more frequent family meals than did overweight/obese children (57.5%; p = 0.05). No other significant associations were found between SE factors and DQ or body weight status.

Conclusion: Most of the participants were of healthy weight but had poor quality diets. Having a healthy weight was positively associated with frequent family meals.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / standards
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Parents
  • Peer Group
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Schools
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires