Energy balance and physical activity in obese children attending day-care centres
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Objective: To evaluate energy balance and physical activity in obese preschool children attending day-care centres. Design: Cross-sectional study. Subjects: Twenty-four 3-5 years old obese children selected at random from four different day-care centres in Santiago City, Chile. Total energy expenditure (TEE) was measured by doubly labelled water and physical activity as recorded by TRITRAC R3D motion sensor. Energy intake was assessed by measuring food intake while at the centre, along with the recording of additional food intake in the home. Results: Obese children had a 5.4% higher weighed energy intake than their energy requirements 2001. Energy intake during the week was 7716 +/- 1092 kJ/day and 7401 +/- 1023 kJ/day in boys and girls, respectively. Minimal activity was higher in the day-care centres (62%) compared to 52% during the weekend at home. Light activity was higher during the weekend at home than during the week (25 versus 20%), but moderate-intense activity was similar (3-5%). Conclusions: Reduction in dietary energy provided at the day-care centres helps to balance energy requirements during the week. Obese children had marked sedentary characteristics with regards to physical activity, although children are more active at home in weekends. This situation suggests that educators and parents need to improve children's physical activity levels and nutrition habits.