FSD3240 Sleep, Exercise and Eating Habits of Swedish-Speaking Finnish Children 2006 and 2008

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Authors

  • Roos, Eva (Samfundet Folkhälsan)
  • Ray, Carola (Samfundet Folkhälsan)

Keywords

child nutrition, children, exercise (physical activity), family life, food and nutrition, fruit, households, lifestyle and health, physical activities, sleep, vegetables, well-being (health)

Abstract

The dataset consists of six surveys which charted the eating habits, sleep and exercise of Swedish-speaking primary school children and their parents. The surveys were conducted in the Uusimaa region in Finland in 2006 and 2008 and followed the same students and parents. Main topics included the children's health related habits and what affected them (e.g. family's eating habits, meals eaten, amount of exercise and sleeping habits). Additionally, the data include measurements such as the children's weight, height and waist circumference from both years of data collection. The surveys were conducted in Swedish and collected as part of the Hälsoverkstaden project by Folkhälsan. The schools were divided into control (N: 14) and intervention (N: 13) schools. At the intervention schools, the teachers received additional training on nutrition, exercise and sleep, and used their chosen extra materials and methods as part of their teaching. The children and their parents can be connected in the data.

The children responded to two surveys each year: a survey that contained general questions on the research topic and a more detailed Pro Children survey (Skolbarns matvanor) which charted the foods eaten in the past 24 hours, the consumption of fruits and vegetables, and daily screen time. The children's parents responded to one survey each year, which charted the sleeping, eating and exercise habits of the parent, child and family. The general questionnaires from both years include mostly the same questions. In the Pro Children surveys all questions were repeated.

The general surveys for children charted background information on them and their families, friends and school. The children were asked questions relating to how they would describe their parents, how they saw themselves e.g. compared to peers, how much their parents knew about their friends, money spending habits and whereabouts after schools, and how satisfied they were with their school. The children were also asked about their school lunch habits. Next, mealtimes were charted with questions relating to breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and evening snack. The food and drinks consumed most often by the children and parents were also charted. Physical activity was examined with questions regarding, for example, exercise at school and at home, motivations behind exercise, parents' exercise habits, and how they would compare themselves to their peers. Screen time was examined with questions concerning the amount of time spent after school on watching TV, videos or DVDs, or playing games on a computer or game consoles. Finally, sleeping habits were charted with questions relating to, for example, whether the children thought they had problems with sleep, difficulties waking up in the morning, or felt tired during the day. Questions about sleep rhythm were also presented.

The surveys for parents first charted background information, such as whether they were responding alone or with someone and for how many hours a day their child was alone at home. Next, the parents were asked about their own physical activity as well as their motivations for taking their child to different hobbies (e.g. for the child to make friends or concentrate better in school). The screen time of the child was also examined. Both the parents' and children's sleep rhythm and habits were charted. Next, eating habits were examined with questions relating to, for example, what meals the child ate and whether the parents themselves ate fruits and vegetables. They were also asked what possible reasons there were for not buying fruits or vegetables (e.g. it's too expensive, the child is allergic) and whether the family ate meals together. Finally, the parents were asked to provide some additional background information and to describe their opinions and beliefs about health and health-related habits. Both questionnaires filled out by the parents contain a set of questions based on Antonovsky's Sense of Coherence scale.

The Pro Children questionnaire first asked the children to give some background information about themselves and their families. Then, the children were asked questions on what they had eaten in the morning, in school and after school on the day before the questionnaire was filled out. The questions concerning each of the three mealtimes related to whether they had eaten at that time, what they had eaten and how much fruit or vegetables the meals had contained. The amount of different foods eaten was given in portions. Next, the children were presented with additional questions about eating fruits and vegetables (e.g. whether they thought that fruits and vegetables tasted good and what their favourite fruits and vegetables were). Questions about the availability of fruits and vegetables at home were also presented. Finally, the questionnaire charted how often the children's families ate together, whether the children ate while watching TV and their free-time activities. The scale used in the questionnaire is based on the Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ).

Background variables included, among others, the child's grade, gender, country of birth (reclassified), type of accommodation, weekly allowance, number of siblings, height, weight and waist circumference. Additionally, the following background information, among others, was received on the parents: highest level of education, economic activity, type of employment contract, type of accommodation, income of the household and subjective experience of the sufficiency of income. The data also include municipality of residence and school variables, as well as whether the school was an intervention or control school. The variables do not include the names of the school or municipality.

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