The association between nutrition and physical activity knowledge and weight status of primary school educators

SOURCE: South African Journal of Education
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2014
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Dalais, Z.Abrahams, N.P.Steyn, A.De Villiers, J.M.Fourie, J.Hill, E.V.Lambert, C.E.Draper
KEYWORDS: NUTRITION, OBESITY, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, PRIMARY EDUCATION, SCHOOL CHILDREN, WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8473

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate primary school educators' health status, knowledge, perceptions and behaviour regarding nutrition and physical activity. Thus, nutrition and physical activity knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and risk factors for the development of non-communicable diseases of 155 educators were assessed in a cross-sectional survey. Height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure and random glucose levels were measured. Twenty percent of the sample had normal weight (body mass index, 27.7% were overweight and 52.3% were obese. Most of the participants were younger than 45 years, females 78.1%, resided in urban areas, with high blood pressure, and were inactive with a high waist circumference. Educators' nutrition and physical activity knowledge was poor. Sixty-nine percent of educators incorrectly believed that eating starchy foods causes weight gain and only 15% knew that one should eat five or more fruit and/or vegetables per day. Aspects of poor nutritional knowledge, misconceptions regarding actual body weight status, and challenges in changing health behaviours, emerged as issues which need to be addressed among educators. Educators' high risk for developing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) may impact on educator absenteeism and subsequently on school functioning. The aspects of poor nutrition and physical activity knowledge along with educators' high risk for NCD development may be particularly significant not merely in relation to their personal health but also the learners they teach.