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Awareness of Childhood Obesity as a Health Hazard Amongst a Sample of Parents Living in an Inner-City Area of Palermo, Italy

  • Authors: Bianco, A.; Mammina, C.; Paoli, A.; Bellafiore, M.; Battaglia, G.; Jemni, M.; Palma, A.
  • Publication year: 2010
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Key words: Obesity, Children, Health Promotion
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Prevalence of overweight and obesity is approximately 40% in Sicilian schoolchildren at age 11 and over 25% at age 15. The objective of this study was to evaluate knowledge, perception and awareness of the obesity as a condition amongst a sample of parents living inner-city areas of Palermo, Italy. A cross-sectional survey was performed enrolling 311 parents/gradients of children attending schools located in inner district of Palermo, Italy, with low to medium income. Association of answer patterns with socio-demographic characteristics was evaluated by univariate and multivariate regression analysis. Although 83% considered weight excess in childrenas a health hazard, 30% considered it as a healthy condition. Junk food/beverages (78.0%), fast food (63.2%) and lack of exercise in school curriculum (48.7%) were identified as the most significant contributors to childhood obesity. Responsibility in tackling childhood obesity varied significantly according to the education level of the parents: low educated mothers less frequently perceived junk food/beverages, lack of exercise at school, lack of places to exercise and lack of security as threats to children health. Furthermore, mother’s low education was negatively associated with their awareness of the roles played by food companies, school and healthcare services in the childhood obesity causative network. An increasing public awareness is required as key variable role in order to tackle the childhood obesity crisis.