The declining prevalence of overweight among Russian children: Income, diet, and physical activity behavior changes

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The aim of this study is to examine the relationships among income, diet, physical activity behaviors and overweight among Russian children during a period of economic upheaval. Subjects include 2151 schoolchildren aged 7–13 derived from cross-sectional waves of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Surveys in 1995 and in 2002. Diet was assessed by 24-h recall and physical activity (h/week) and household income by parental questionnaire. Hours spent in vigorous activities were low (1.0–1.5 h/week), and time spent in sedentary behaviors increased from 31 to 37 h/week between 1995 and 2002. In 1995 there was a direct relationship of income to energy and fat intake, and time spent in vigorous activity, and an inverse relationship of income to h/week spent in moderate activities (such as walking to school). The effect of having low income parents was less in 2002 than in 1995. Overweight prevalence did not differ significantly by income in either year, but there was a significant decline in overweight among high income children. Only hours spent in moderate physical activity was moderately protective against overweight. Income disparities do not explain trends in overweight among Russian children.

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