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Food choices, physical activity levels and other factors associated with weight gain in primary school educators

Z Seme
A de Villiers
NP Steyn
M Senekal


The aim of the study was to evaluate educators’ health behaviours regarding dietary intake and physical activity (PA). A survey was undertaken in 517 educators at 83 primary schools in the Western Cape. Food choices (healthy vs. unhealthy), PA levels, and health knowledge were measured by questionnaire. The six most frequently consumed foods were sugar (0.68 times per day), margarine/butter (0.65 times per day), dairy (0.55 times per day), cooked starches (0.53 times per day), white bread and fruit juice (0.46 times per day). The combined data of fruit and vegetables (reflecting healthy choices) were consumed twice a day, while a high-fat food choice and an energy-dense choice was made between one and two times a day. The frequency of intake of high-fat foods, white bread and processed foods was significantly higher in males, while their frequency of vegetable intake was significantly lower than that of females. Snacks were eaten regularly by most (72.8%) of the educators. Females, and those older than 50 years were significantly more likely to have low PA levels. Activity spent at work was significantly higher than activity spent for transport and recreational activities. 

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eISSN: 0378-5254