Revista Adolescência e Saúde

Revista Oficial do Núcleo de Estudos da Saúde do Adolescente / UERJ

NESA Publicação oficial
ISSN: 2177-5281 (Online)

Vol. 14 nº 4 - Oct/Dec - 2017

Original Article Imprimir 

Páginas 106 a 112

Factors associated with overweight in school adolescents in the urban area of Rio Branco - AC

Factores asociados al exceso de peso en adolescentes escolares de la red pública del área urbana de Rio Branco - AC

Fatores associados ao excesso de peso em adolescentes escolares da rede pública da área urbana de Rio Branco - AC

Autores: Jailza Gomes Furtado Pinheiro Teles1; Orivaldo Florencio de Souza2

1. Bachelor's Degree in Public Health from the Federal University of Acre (UFAC). Rio Branco, AC, Brazil. Nutritionist at the State Department of Health of Acre. Rio Branco, AC, Brazil
2. PhD in Public Health from the University of São Paulo (USP). São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Adjunct Professor of the Sport Sciences Center of the Federal University of Acre (UFAC). Rio Branco, AC, Brazil

Jailza Gomes Furtado Pinheiro Teles
Universidade Federal do Acre, Campus Universitário
BR 364, Km 04
Rio Branco, Acre, CEP: 69920-900

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Keywords: Overweight, obesity, body mass index, sedentary lifestyle, adolescent.
Palabra Clave: Sobrepeso, obesidad, índice de masa corporal, estilo de vida sedentario, adolescente.
Descritores: Sobrepeso, obesidade, índice de massa corporal, estilo de vida sedentário, adolescente.

OBJECTIVE: Analyze the associated factors with excess body weight in adolescents from Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil.
METHODS: Cross-sectional study with 951 public school teens living in an urban area. Sociodemographic, family information and sedentary behavior data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire. Teens with excess body weight were classified based on World Health Organization growth standards (2007). Were calculated the prevalence, Odds Ratio (OR) and its confidence intervals (CI) in 95%. We also identified the factors associated with overweight by multiple binary logistic regression.
RESULTS:The prevalence of body weight excess was 18.93%, in which 20.3% was for female and 17.43% for male. The body weight excess associated factors were being an only child (OR: 1,38; CI: 1,09-1,76) and computer use (OR:1,54; CI:1,27-1,86), and watch the TV and play videogame (OR:1,30; CI:1,07-1,57) for more than two daily hours in weekdays.
CONCLUSION: Body weight excess prevalence was high in adolescents from public school of Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil, where sedentary behaviour was associated with body weight excess.

OBJETIVO: Analizar los factores asociados al exceso de peso en adolescentes de escuelas de la red pública de Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil.
MÉTODOS: Estudio transversal con 951 adolescentes de escuelas públicas del área urbana. Fueronrecolectadas informaciones sociodemográficas,  familiares yde comportamiento sedentario por medio de cuestionario auto-respondido. La clasificación de exceso de peso siguiólas recomendacionesde la Organización Mundial de Salud (2007). Fueron calculadas las prevalencias, razón de posibilidadesy sus respectivos intervalos de confianza en 95%. Se identificaronlos factores asociados al exceso de peso por regresión logística binaria múltiple.
RESULTADOS: La prevalencia general de exceso de peso total fue 18,93%, siendo 20,3% para el sexo femenino y 17,43% para el masculino. Los factores asociados al exceso de peso fueron ser hijo único (Odds Ratio [OR]:1,38; Intervalo de Confianza [IC]:1,09-1,76), uso de computador (OR:1,54; IC:1,27-1,86), asistir TV y jugar video game (OR:1,30; IC:1,07-1,57) durante la semana por más de dos horas diarias.
CONCLUSIÓN: El factor exceso de peso presentóalta prevalencia en adolescentes de escuelas públicas de Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil, donde hubo asociación de comportamiento sedentario con exceso de peso.

OBJETIVO: Analisar os fatores associados ao excesso de peso em adolescentes de escolas da rede pública de Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil.
MÉTODOS: Estudo transversal com 951 adolescentes de escolas públicas da área urbana. Foram coletadas informações sociodemográficas, familiares e comportamento sedentário por meio de questionário auto respondido. A classificação de excesso de peso seguiu as recomendações da Organização Mundial da Saúde (2007). Foram calculadas as prevalências, razão de chance e seus respectivos intervalos de confiança em 95%. Identificou-se os fatores associados ao excesso de peso por regressão logística binária múltipla.
RESULTADOS: A prevalência geral de excesso de peso total foi 18,93%, sendo 20,3% para o sexo feminino e 17,43% para o masculino. Os fatores associados ao excesso de peso foram ser filho único (Odds Ratio [OR]:1,38; Intervalo de Confiança [IC]:1,09-1,76), uso de computador (OR:1,54; IC:1,27-1,86), assistir TV e jogar vídeo game (OR:1,30; IC:1,07-1,57) durante a semana por mais de duas horas diárias.
CONCLUSÃO: O fator excesso de peso apresentou elevada prevalência em adolescentes de escolas públicas de Rio Branco, Acre, Brasil, onde houve associação de comportamento sedentário com excesso de peso.


Adolescence is considered an important period for the formation of habits that can have impact throughout the life of the individual. The development of obesity during adolescence increases the risk of becoming an obese adult. The consequences of overweight include diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension 1 .

Obesity during childhood and adolescence has had significant increase worldwide. Between 1980 and 2013, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents increased by almost 50% 2 . According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics 3 , Brazil follows the worldwide trend of increasing prevalence of overweight in adolescents. In 2002, the prevalence of overweight adolescents was 15.4% for females and 17.9% for males in Brazil 3 . According to data from the last Survey on Family Budgets 4 , in Brazil, the prevalence of overweight among adolescent girls is 19.4% and 21.5% among boys.

There is an increase in the percentage of overweight adolescents in less than a decade. This phenomenon also occurred in the Northern Region of the country, where prevalence was higher in boys than in girls with 15.3% and 13.9%,respectively 3 . In 2009, the prevalence of overweight was lower than the national level, but still higher than the 2002 data, 16.6% for female adolescents and 18.5% for male 4 .

Sedentary behavior is among the environmental factors involved in the development of overweight and obesity. Among them, the time spent watching TV, using computer and playing video game has been focus of study around the world. There is a hypothesis that time watching TV can replace physical activity and / or increase energy intake 5 . Exposure to numerous nutrient-poor food advertisements, however containing high energy density, stimulates consumption of these foods 6 . In fact, women and men who watch TV more often are more likely to be inactive during their free time 7 . In addition, the lower consumption of fruits and vegetables, which is correlated with the higher intake of high fat diets, is also associated with the high time spent watching TV 7 . Currently, the use of computers during free time and the habit of playing video games also has been postulated as a substitute for physical activity, which can contribute to the development of overweight and obesity 8.

Additionally, the influence of family dynamics on the nutritional status of children and adolescents has been described in the literature 9 . In Brazil, in the last decade, there was an increase in the number of families with only one child 10 . The absence of parents for varied reasons such as divorce, work, travel, can lead to difficulties in the use of authority in the family 9 . The attempt to approach parents, whose purpose is to repair their lack, can lead to food permissiveness and difficulty in setting limits on their child, contributing to the development of overweight and obesity 11 .


The objective of this study was to analyze the prevalence and factors related to overweight in school adolescents in the public school of Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil.


This is a cross-sectional, school-based study conducted in the first half of 2015, with high school adolescents from public schools in Rio Branco - AC. Rio Branco is the capital of the state of Acre. It has a population of approximately 370,550 inhabitants 12 . Currently, the municipality has 22 schools that offer high school in the public network, totaling 17,705 students in the urban area. The sample of the study is part of the project "Nutritional status, free time leisure activities and internet use by high school adolescents of Rio Branco, Acre." Included in the study were adolescents aged 15 to 18 years enrolled in public schools Schools in Rio Branco - AC. Thus, the study was carried out with 951 school adolescents.

The questionnaire was composed of questions related to the demographic characteristics (sex and age), family member (number of siblings, number of friends, number of adolescents at home), sedentary behavior (daily hours in watching TV or playing video game and use computer during the week and at the weekend) and sports participation.

The anthropometric measures were collected using the procedures described by Petroski et al . 13 . To measure the weight was used electronic digital portable scale, with an accuracy of 50 grams and a maximum capacity of 150 kg, height measured by portable stadiometer, precision of 0.1 cm and maximum extension of 2 meters. Subsequently, body mass index (BMI) (kg / m²) was calculated, being classified as eutrophic (score Z <+ 1) or overweight (Z score ≥ + 1), as recommended by the World Health Organization 14 .

For the data insertion, the Epidata program was used and the statistical analysis of the data was performed with the help of the program Stata 12. The prevalence for overweight by sex and age was calculated. The odds ratio was obtained by multiple binary logistic regression. The factors associated with overweight were variables with a P value equal to or below 0.05, after adjustment for gender and age.

This research followed the ethical norms in force in the country. Therefore, the project was approved by the Research Ethics Committee (CEP) of the Federal University of Acre, under protocol number 39594914.8.0000.5010.


We evaluated 951 adolescents, 492 female students and 459 male students aged 15 to 18 from public schools in the urban area of ​​Rio Branco, Acre. Table 1 shows the prevalence of overweight among adolescents by age group. It was evidenced the general prevalence of 18.93% of overweight, being 17.43% for males and 20.3% for females. The highest prevalence of overweight found was at 18 years of age for both sexes (Table 1).

Table 2 presents the odds ratio for overweight according to socio-familial variables and the sedentary behavior of the adolescents analyzed. The prevalence of overweight in single-born adolescents was 23.53%. While for the variables use of computer, watch TV or play video game during the week for more than 2 hours, the prevalence of overweight was 26.32% and 22.34%, respectively.

Table 3 shows the factors associated with overweight in the adolescents studied. Watching TV, playing video games and using computers for more than two hours per week had an association magnitude of 1.30 and 1.54, respectively, with overweight. For the single-child variable the magnitude of association was 1.38.


The prevalence of overweight in adolescents living in Rio Branco was 18.93%, a frequency lower than that reported in several countries. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, over 22% of female adolescents and nearly 24% of males living in developed countries were overweight or obese 2 . In the United States, in 2007, the prevalence of overweight in adolescents was 31.6%, while among German adolescents, in 2008, it was 24.4% 15 .

In a study carried out in the city of Rio Branco, Acre, but with adolescents from private schools, the prevalence of overweight was 26.4% and 33.2% for females and males, respectively 16 . These prevalences are higher than those found in the present study with public school students. In Brazil, students from private schools tend to belong to families with high purchasing power, therefore belonging to a socioeconomic level different from the adolescents evaluated in this research.

In the present study, the age group with the highest prevalence of overweight was 18 years for both girls and boys. The age group of 18 years of age coincides with the adolescent's entry into the labor market or university, and therefore becomes more independent in relation to his family. It has already been described that the minority of young university students in Rio Branco reaches the consumption recommendations for fruits and vegetables 17 . It is speculated that at 18 years of age, adolescents become more in control of their own diet and may culminate in the establishment of poor eating habits, which contribute to the development of excess weight.

The single child variable in the present study was associated with overweight. In this sense, Novaes et al. 11 report the excessive preoccupation of the family, especially the mother, who contributes to excess weight in single-born children where they tend to satisfy the desire for goodies and encourage consumption beyond the real need. Gopinath et al. 18 , have shown that Australian children who do not have siblings tend to have fewer opportunities to start physical activities and eat more caloric foods, thus increasing the risk of developing overweight and obesity.

The expenditure of time using electronic devices can contribute to a reduction in the practice of physical activity and, consequently, to promote the development of excess weight 8 . The screen time of 2 hours or more in school adolescents in Rio Branco was associated with overweight. Likewise, the time spent in front of the screen is related to the higher consumption of foods with high energy density, which is also a contributing factor to overweight and obesity 19 .

Physical inactivity is an important modifiable factor for the development of excess weight, although its etiology is multifactorial. It is known that reduced energy expenditure combined with excessive energy consumption is closely related to the development of overweight and obesity. 19 It is also recognized that levels of physical activity in adult life are in part determined by the level of physical activity during adolescence 20 . Therefore, reduction of screen time during adolescence may contribute to increased physical activity time and, consequently, reduction of excess weight.

This study is limited by its transverse nature and does not allow causal inference of the associations observed. Excess weight is due to a complex multifactorial system. Genetic inheritance, aspects of lifestyle such as eating and even psychological factors are equally important, but this were not evaluated in this study. However, it is crucial to know the possible modifiable factors to subsidize public policies to combat excess weight.

It was concluded that the prevalence of overweight in high school students in the Rio Branco public school system in the year 2015 was high and had a prevalence in adolescents who are single children and have a more sedentary behavior (watch TV, play video game and use computer for more than two hours during the week).


Financial support from the Acre State Foundation for Research Support (FAPAC) and the State Department of Education of the State of Acre for authorizing the research.


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