Background: Regular breakfast and well-balanced soft drink, and screen media consumption are associated with a lower risk of overweight and obesity in schoolchildren. The aim of this research is the combined examination of these three parameters as influencing factors for longitudinal weight development in schoolchildren in order to adapt targeted preventive measures.
Methods: In the course of the Baden-Württemberg Study, Germany, data from direct measurements (baseline (2010) and follow-up (2011)) at schools was available for 1733 primary schoolchildren aged 7.08 ± 0.6 years (50.8% boys). Anthropometric measurements of the children were taken according to ISAK-standards (International Standard for Anthropometric Assessment) by trained staff. Health and lifestyle characteristics of the children and their parents were assessed in questionnaires. A linear mixed effects regression analysis was conducted to examine influences on changes in waist-to-height-ratio (WHtR), weight, and body mass index (BMI) measures. A generalised linear mixed effects regression analysis was performed to identify the relationship between breakfast, soft drink and screen media consumption with the prevalence of overweight, obesity and abdominal obesity at follow-up.
Results: According to the regression analyses, skipping breakfast led to increased changes in WHtR, weight and BMI measures. Skipping breakfast and the overconsumption of screen media at baseline led to higher odds of abdominal obesity and overweight at follow-up. No significant association between soft drink consumption and weight development was found.
Conclusion: Targeted prevention for healthy weight status and development in primary schoolchildren should aim towards promoting balanced breakfast habits and a reduction in screen media consumption. Future research on soft drink consumption is needed. Health promoting interventions should synergistically involve children, parents, and schools.
Trial registration: The Baden-Württemberg Study is registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS) under the DRKS-ID: DRKS00000494 .
Keywords: Breakfast; Child; Obesity; Overweight; Prevention & control; Screen media; Soft drink.