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    Idler, Nadja Teuner, Christina M Hunger, Matthias Holle, Rolf Ortlieb, Sandra Schulz, Holger Bauer, Carl-Peter Hoffmann, Ute Koletzko, Sibylle Lehmann, Irina von Berg, Andrea Berdel, Dietrich Hoffmann, Barbara Schaaf, Beate Heinrich, Joachim and Wolfenstetter, Silke B 2015. The association between physical activity and healthcare costs in children – results from the GINIplus and LISAplus cohort studies. BMC Public Health, Vol. 15, Issue. 1,


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Health behaviours and health-care utilization in Canadian schoolchildren

  • Sara FL Kirk (a1), Stefan Kuhle (a2), Arto Ohinmaa (a2) and Paul J Veugelers (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980012002728
  • Published online: 21 May 2012
Abstract
AbstractObjective

Poor nutritional habits and physical inactivity are two health behaviours believed to be linked with increasing rates of overweight and obesity in children. The objective of the present study was to determine whether children who reported healthier behaviours, specifically in relation to nutrition and physical activity, also had lower health-care utilization.

Design

Population-based cross-sectional study, linking survey data from the 2003 Children's Lifestyle and School Performance Study (CLASS) with Nova Scotia administrative health data. Health-care utilization was defined as both (i) the total physician costs and (ii) the number of physician visits, for each child from 2001 to 2006. Exposures were two indices of healthy eating, the Diet Quality Index and the Healthy Eating Index, and self-reported physical activity and screen time behaviours.

Setting

Elementary schools in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

Subjects

Grade 5 students and their parents; of the 5200 students who participated in CLASS and completed surveys, 4380 (84 %) could be linked with information in the administrative data sets.

Results

The study found a relationship between both indices of healthy eating and a borderline significant trend towards lower health-care utilization in this population sample of children. No statistically significant relationships were seen for physical activity or screen time.

Conclusions

Both measures of diet quality produced similar results. The study suggests that healthy eating habits established in childhood may be associated with lower health-care utilization, although further research over a longer time frame is needed to demonstrate statistical significance.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email Sara.Kirk@dal.ca
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