“A matter of health”: Evaluation of health habits in pupils in Primary School in Serbia
Keywords:biology, pupils, school, health habits
We interviewed more than 400 primary school pupils from 5th to the 8th grade (aged 11 to 14 years) from the primary school in Belgrade (Serbia) about their habits concerning nutrition, beverage consumption, and time spend in front of a computer, tablet, playing games on consoles, or using a mobile phone. According to study, high percentage of students showed well-established habit of eating breakfast. Also, the overall water consumption prevailed in all grades, since the school ensures students access to safe and free drinking water, as a healthy alternative to consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. However, we found increasing food consumption from bakery and consumption of carbonated drinks both in boys and girls from senior grades (7th and 8th). Also, they spent considerably more time with a computer, tablet, or mobile phone than the pupils from lower grades. About one-third of all surveyed students have been watching television or using a computer more than 3 hours during the day. We found significant increase of BMI, as an indicator of the increasing risk for weight gain and obesity both in boys and girls in senior grades. In the current curriculum of Biology, the topic of human health is studied in the 7th grade, but presented results show that one-year education in health topics is not sufficient. It suggests the necessity of introducing the topic of health in all grades of elementary school, starting from the lowest age.
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