Diet, Physical Activity, and Obesity in School-Aged Indigenous Youths in Northern Australia

Patricia Valery, Torukiri Ibiebele, Mark Harris, A Green, Andrew Cotterill, Aletia Moloney, Ashim Sinha, Gail Garvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: To examine the relationship between diet, physical activity, and obesity in Indigenous youths from northern Australia. 

Methods: In a cross-sectional study, physical activity and dietary intake (“short nutrition questionnaire”) were assessed among all youths during a face-to-face interview. For 92 high school youths, additional dietary information was assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire. Height and weight were measured and BMI was calculated. Multiple logistic regression was used to assess associations. 

Results: Of the 277 youths included, 52% had ≤2 servings of fruit and 84% had <4 servings of vegetables per day; 65% ate fish and 27%, take-away food (“fast food”) at least twice a week. One in four ate local traditional sea food including turtle and dugong (a local sea mammal) at least twice a week. Overweight/obese youths engaged in fewer days of physical activity in the previous week than normal weight youths (OR = 2.52, 95% CI 1.43–4.40), though patterns of physical activity differed by sex and age (P < 0.001). Overweight/obese youths were 1.89 times (95% CI 1.07–3.35) more likely to eat dugong regularly than nonobese youths. Analysis of food-frequency data showed no difference by weight assessment among high-school students. 

 Low fruit and vegetable intake were identified in these Indigenous youths. Regular consumption of fried dugong and low frequency of physical activity were associated with overweight/obesity reinforcing the need to devise culturally appropriate health promotion strategies and interventions for Indigenous youths aimed at improving their diet and increasing their physical activity. 
Original languageEnglish
Article number893508
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Obesity
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Dive into the research topics of 'Diet, Physical Activity, and Obesity in School-Aged Indigenous Youths in Northern Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this