Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting

Whanau Pakari: Eating behaviours of obese children and adolescents in Taranaki (#203)

Michelle S. Butler 1 , Tami L. Cave 1 2 , Kris R. Moller 3 , Katharine F. Treves 1 , Cervantee E.K. Wild 1 2 , Lisa E. Wynter 1 , Cameron C. Grant 4 , Paul L. Hofman 2 , Yvonne C. Anderson 1 2
  1. Taranaki District Health Board, New Plymouth, NZ, New Zealand
  2. Liggins Institute, Liggins Institute, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  3. Sport Taranaki, New Plymouth, New Zealand
  4. Department of Paediatrics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Limited data exist regarding eating behaviours of obese children in New Zealand.

AIM: To assess nutritional characteristics at Whanau Pakari baseline assessments, and compare with national data.

METHOD: Referral criteria were BMI>98th centile, or >91st centile with significant weight-related co-morbidities, age 5-16 years. Assessments included 24 hour food recall, modified Children's Dietary Questionnaire1, and knowledge of healthy food.

RESULTS: 240 assessments were analysed. Primary ethnicity was Maori for 109 (45%), New Zealand European (NZE) for 109 (45%), Pacific for 6 (3%), Asian for 6 (3%) and other for 10 (4%). Average age was 10 years, and 53% were female. Average meal duration was 14 minutes (range 2-60). 62% of participants (n=148 were described as "comfort eaters". The average number of breakfasts eaten per week was 5.6 (range 0-7). Only 66% (n=160) ate breakfast every day of the week (vs. 87% of 2-14 year olds nationally).2  Maori ate fewer breakfasts per week than NZE (5.3 vs. 5.9, p=0.01). Children living in the most deprived 20% of households ate fewer breakfasts per week than those living in the least deprived 20% of households (5.3 vs. 6.3, p=0.05).3 Both of these findings reflected national data.2 Of the 240 baseline records, average fruit and vegetable servings per day were 1.8 and 1.7 respectively (both range 0-5). Only 56% (n=134) consumed the recommended ≥2 fruit servings/day (vs. 68% nationally), and 21% (n=51) consumed the recommended ≥3 servings of vegetables/day (vs. 40% nationally).4 Daily number of fruit servings did not differ between Maori and NZE (1.9 vs. 1.8, p=0.44). Daily number of vegetable servings were lower (1.6 vs. 1.9 respectively, p=0.015) and daily sweet drink intake was higher (376ml vs. 195ml, p=0.0003) for Maori compared with NZE.

CONCLUSION: The low consumption of fruit and vegetables, skipping of breakfasts, and ethnic differences in dietary habits amongst New Zealand children and adolescents needs to be addressed. 

  1. Magarey et al. Reliability and validity of the Children’s Dietary Questionnaire; A new tool to measure children’s dietary patterns. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity. 2009: 1-9.
  2. Ministry of Health. New Zealand health survey: Annual update of key findings 2012/13. Survey. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Health; 2013 December 2013.
  3. University of Otago, School of Medicine & Health Science. NZ Deprivation Index 2006 [Internet].
  4. Clinical Trials Research Unit. A National Survey of Children and Young People’s Physical Activity and Dietary Behaviours in New Zealand: 2008/09. The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. June 2010.