The effect of physical activity on snack consumption of elementary school students

Por: A. Fachantidou, M. Hassapidou, S. K. Papadopoulou e V. Klonaridou.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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The last decade children eat more often snacks and it has been shown that 9% to 22% of their energy consumption derives from snacks (1). Children prefer and select, tasty and attractive snacks, without giving any importance about their dietary value (2). Refreshments, pastries, candies and fruit juices are their favorite snacks (3). The purpose of this study was to record the physical activity of children and to examine the impact of physical activity on the students’ snacks’ consumption.


The participants were 338 students (164 boys and 174 girls) of sixth grade of public elementary. The sample was selected with random sampling from eastern, central and western areas of Thessaloniki. Data was collected with a special closed type questionnaire (3). For the statistic analysis the SPSS statistical program was used.


According to the results 63,3% of students exercised systematically. The most preferable sports were football (27,1%), basketball (17,3%), swimming (12,1%), volleyball (8,9%) and track and field sports (7,5%). Anova analysis showed that physical activity had an impact on the weekly consumption of pears, apples, oranges, natural fruit-juices, spinach-pies and soda, p<0,05.


Children that exercised consumed more often healthy snacks such as: fruits, fruit-juices and spinach-pies, while they avoided soda, in comparison with the children that did not exercise (4). It is worth mentioning that, except for exercise as a factor affecting nutritional choices, other factors like family and school should be taken into account when examining the nutritional behavior of children.


[1]. Cheung, L. & Richmond, J. (1995). Child Health Nutrition and Physical Activity. United States: Human Kinetics.
[2]. Har K.H. et al. (2002). Journal of Human Nutrition and Diet, 15, (2), 129-140.
[3]. Vignarajah S. (1997). International Dent Journal, 47(5), 293-297.
[3]. Papadopoulou S.K. (2001). Dietary criteria of adolescents: The role of physical activity, anthropometrics, dietetic, phychological and other factors. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Thessaloniki.
[4]. Andersen L.F. et al. (1995). European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 49, (8), 555-564



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