Physical activity and dietary habits among Moroccan adolescents

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Hamrani, Abdeslam
Mehdad, Slimane
Kari, Khalid
Hamdouchi, Asmaa
Menchawy, Imane
Belghiti, Hakim
Mzibri, Mohammed
Musaiger, Abdulrahman
Al-Hazzaa, Hazzaa
Hills, Andrew
Mokhtar, Najat
Aguenaou, Hassan
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Objective The study aimed to detail the lifestyle (physical activity and dietary habits) of Moroccan adolescents. Design Cross-sectional study undertaken in the framework of the ATLS (Arab Teens Lifestyle Study). Setting Physical activity and dietary habits were determined using a validated questionnaire in public secondary schools. Subjects A total of 669 adolescents aged 15簭19繠years were randomly recruited from Kenitra, Morocco. Results Physical activity patterns and intensity differed between genders. As anticipated, male adolescents were more active than female adolescents across a typical week and engaged in more vigorous-intensity physical activity than female adolescents, who spent more time than male adolescents in moderate-intensity physical activity. Of particular concern was that one in five of the adolescents surveyed was inactive, with almost 45 % of the sample reporting television viewing for more than 2 h/d and 38 % engaged in computer use for a similar period. From a dietary perspective, most adolescents reported that they do not take breakfast or consume milk and dairy products, fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. In contrast, most reported consumption of doughnuts, cakes, candy and chocolate more than three times per week and approximately 50 % consumed sugary drinks more than three times per week. Conclusions Based on a continuation of the self-reported lifestyle behaviours, adolescents in the present study are at risk of developing chronic diseases. Education programmes are urgently needed to assist in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of overweight and obesity and related health risks among young people.

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Public Health Nutrition

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