OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to examine the trends which have occurred during the past generation in body mass index (BMI) and in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children in public schools in Nuuk, Greenland. STUDY DESIGN: The study is a retrospective cohort study of BMI among inschooling children (age 6 or 7 years old). A database was created on the basis of files from school-nurses containing information on height and weight among children having attended school in Nuuk since 1970. The database contained 10,121 measurements in total, whereas 2,801 were on inschooling children. Measurements from these children form the basis of this study. Mean and quartiles of BMI among the inschooling children in 5-year intervals were used to determine the development in BMI since 1980. On the basis of international cut-points for use among children and adolescents, the proportion of overweight and obese children and the trends since 1980 were determined. RESULTS: The mean BMI has risen by a total of a bit more than 6% since 1980, corresponding to a rise of 1.2-3.8% for every 5-year period. Increases are also observed when assessing the proportion of overweight and obese, which were 6.6% and 0.9%, respectively, among the inschooling children during the period 1980-1984. These proportions increased to 16.5% and 5.2%, respectively, in 2000-2004. CONCLUSION: This study has provided evidence that during the past two decades, children in Nuuk have undergone a development towards a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity.
Comment In: Int J Circumpolar Health. 2005 Apr;64(2):107-915945280
To review the context of food insecurity in Greenlandic children, to review and compare the outcomes related to food insecurity in Greenlandic children, in other Arctic child populations and in other western societies, and to explore the measure used by the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study.
The study includes literature reviews, focus group interviews with children and analyses of data from the HBSC study. HBSC is an international cross-national school-based survey on child and adolescent health and health behaviour in the age groups 11, 13 and 15 years and performed in more than 40 countries. The item on food insecurity is "Some young people go to school or to bed hungry because there is not enough food in the home. How often does this happen to you?" (with the response options: "Always", "Often", "Sometimes", or "Never").
The context to food security among Inuit in Arctic regions was found to be very similar and connected to a westernization of the diet and contamination of the traditional diet. The major challenges are contamination, economic access to healthy food and socio-demographic differences in having a healthy diet. The literature on outcomes related to food insecurity in children in Western societies was reviewed and grouped based on 8 domains. Using data from the Greenlandic HBSC data from 2010, the item on food security showed negative associations on central items in all these domains. Focus group interviews with children revealed face and content validity of the HBSC item.
Triangulation of the above-mentioned findings indicates that the HBSC measure of food shortage is a reliable indicator of food insecurity in Greenlandic schoolchildren. However, more research is needed, especially on explanatory and mediating factors.
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Cites: J Nutr. 2010 Jun;140(6):1167-920410087
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OBJECTIVES: This study aims at examining whether the relation between established risk factors and mortality differs with socioeconomic status as measured by level of education. METHODS: A population-based sample of 14,399 women and 16,236 men aged 20-93 years from Copenhagen was stratified into three educational levels measured as basic schooling, and the effect of smoking habits, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and body mass index, respectively, on mortality was assessed. RESULTS: Those with the lowest level of education were most frequently heavy smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, and obese. During a mean follow up of 16 years 10,952 subjects died. Compared with subjects with the lowest educational level, women with the highest educational level had a relative risk of 0.80 (95% CI; 0.70-0.91), and men of 0.71 (0.65-0.78). Heavy smoking compared with never smoking implied a more than twofold increased risk at all three educational levels among both men and women. The relation between alcohol intake and mortality was J-shaped on all three educational levels. There were decreasing risk functions describing the relations between physical activity and mortality on all three strata. Further, subjects who were either very lean or obese had increased risks of death compared with those of normal weight at all educational levels in both genders. CONCLUSIONS: The difference in distribution of the main known risk factors may be part of the explanation for the differences in mortality risk. However, these risk factors seem to influence mortality equally at different educational levels. Therefore, social inequalities in mortality do not seem to be explained only by differences in effect of lifestyle risk factors, but are also related to the social rank or unexamined factors within.
The prevalence of adolescent smoking in Greenland is relatively high and remains an important topic to study. The present study reports the prevalence of smoking among Greenlandic adolescents in 2018 and the association between smoking and social relations. The study was based on HBSC Greenland 2018, using a theoretical framework proposed by Due and colleagues, which divides social relations into structural and functional relations. The study showed a statistically significant gender difference in smoking, as 11.4% of the girls reported to smoke compared to 7.9% of the boys. The smoking prevalence increased significantly with age, and differences were also found for a place of residence, as the smoking prevalence was higher in towns and settlements compared to Nuuk. The adolescent smoking prevalence was higher when living in a home with one adult or in a foster family, school home or orphanage, versus living in home with at least two adults. No significant associations were found between adolescent smoking and functional relations. The results are beneficial to consider when applying new interventions to prevent adolescent smoking initiation in Greenland.
The aim of this study is to explore the intake of fruit and sweets in Greenlandic schoolchildren aged 11, 13 and 15 years in villages, towns and the capital by cross-sectional data collected in 4 comparative surveys from 1994 to 2006. Study design. Repeated cross-sectional study.
Data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, with responses from 1,302 students in 1994, 1,648 in 1998, 891 in 2002 and 1,366 in 2006, each in the age groups of 11, 13 and 15 years.
From 1994 to 2006, the odds ratio for eating fruit daily showed a decline while odds for never eating fruit increased in children living in all types of habitations. For all survey years the intake of fruit was lowest in villages and in 2006 only about 15-20% of village children consumed fruit every day. No general trends were found in the daily intake of sweets or for never eating sweets. Only 6% or less of the respondents never ate sweets. Minor age group and gender differences were seen. For sweets, children in the capital in 2006 had a lower daily use than village children.
Greenland is in the process of nutritional transition. The increase in the proportion of schoolchildren that do not meet the national recommendations for daily fruit consumption and the failure to reduce children's intake of sweets is worrying. The intake of fruit was, for all years, lowest in the villages and was probably related (among other things) to cost and access. The implications of the findings are discussed.
Erratum In: Int J Circumpolar Health. 2011 Jun;70(3):231
Ear infections are the leading cause of hearing impairment among children worldwide and a major public health problem in many indigenous populations, yet representative studies of self-reported hearing impairment are currently scarce. The purpose of the present study was therefore two-sided; first to develop an item bank for the collection of data on hearing impairment among Greenlandic adolescents, and second to report data on the child reports on hearing impairment from a national questionnaire-based survey.
The study describes the process of developing items measuring hearing impairment among schoolchildren, and reports data for their inclusion into a national questionnaire survey. The data formed part of the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC Greenland) 2018 survey including 2,273 students, corresponding to 47.6% of all Greenlandic schoolchildren in the age range from 10 to 16 years. Data analyses performed describe the data characteristics and the frequency of self-reported hearing impairment among Greenlandic schoolchildren. Binary logistic regression examined the associations of hearing impairment on school-related (risk) factors and self-rated health.
An average of 4% reported experiencing ear pain almost daily, and almost 10% reported ear pain at least weekly. Moreover, 3% reported having inflammation in the ear at least weekly, and 5% reported to have such impaired hearing that they were not at all able to follow what happened in school. Logistic regression showed that girls had significantly higher odds of low self-rated health, poor school environment and academic achievement below average when they had experienced impaired hearing. All ORs were statistically significant, varying from 1.85 (95% CI: 1.16-2.94) for low self-rated health, to 3.05 (95% CI 1.83-5.11) for feeling pressured by schoolwork. For boys the only significant association with impaired hearing was an academic achievement below average of 1.73 (95% CI 1.08-2.77).
The study confirms clinical knowledge and case studies that there are a significant proportion of Greenlandic adolescents who have experienced impaired hearing. Future studies may use questionnaire data to follow up on children with hearing impairment to be able to report changes over time and associations to school-related and social factors.