IOS Press, Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 3(13), p. 215-223, 2020
BACKGROUND: Prevention of childhood obesity is recommended throughout interventions aiming at enhancing healthy dietary habits (DH) and increasing physical activity (PA). OBJECTIVE: This cross-sectional study aimed at investigating DH and PA, in a sample of Italian children/adolescents. METHODS: We evaluated DH and PA by means of a previously validated questionnaire in 178 children/adolescents (88F/90M, 11.8±2.6 years): 49 normal weight (NW), 76 overweight (OW) and 53 with obesity (OB). Abdominal obesity was defined as Waist to Height Ratio (WHeR) >0.5. RESULTS: DH did not differ in NW subjects compared to OW and OB but higher PA score (p = 0.001) was observed in NW than OW and OB. No association was found between DH and WHeR, unlike PA. Four clusters of subjects were identified that could be defined by DH and PA; only one cluster, defined by PA, showed a significantly lower WHeR within subjects playing sports at least 3–4 hours/week. Moreover, subjects belonging to this cluster did not skip the main meals, eat a varied diet and drank milk at breakfast. CONCLUSIONS: In our sample PA performed at least 3–4 hours/week is inversely associated with abdominal fat deposition and is expected to positively impact health, protecting from abdominal obesity.