Monday, February 3, 2014

Differences between youth in Turkey and from Turkish origin in the Netherlands in body weight, diet and physical activity

In the Netherlands, a fair number of people are from Turkish origin. In a paper just published in e-pub in the journal Public Health Nutrition, in a collaboration between Turkish and Dutch researchers, we compared measures of body weight and fat distribution as well as dietary, physical activity and sedentary behaviors between Turkish adolescents in Turkey (TR-TR) and adolescents from Turkish immigrant ethnicity in the Netherlands (TR-NL). We compared data on TR_NL from six Dutch school-based studies with data from a cross-sectional survey conducted in Turkey. This enabled us to compare data from 915 TR-TR adolescents to  data from 433 TR-NL adolescents. We looked at self-reported sugar-containing beverage (soft drinks, fruit juices et cetera) consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, screen (TV and PC) time, physical activity, measured body height and weight, BMI, waist and hip circumferences, and skinfold thicknesses.
Our results showed that more TR-NL adolescents were overweight (31 % v. 26 %) and obese (9 % v. 6 %) and had significantly higher mean BMI, waist circumference and skinfold thickness  than TR-TR adolescents. TR-NL had higher sugared drinks intakes (1173 v. 115 ml/d), ate less fruits and vegetables (295 v. 647 g/d), less screen time (253 v. 467 min/d) and higher physical activity levels (61 v. 27 min/d) than TR-TR adolescents.
Adolescents from Turkish ethnicity in the Netherlands were thus more often overweight and had a less favorable dietary pattern than their peers in Turkey, while their physical activity and screen time patterns were more favorable. These results suggest that adolescents from Turkish immigrant ethnicity in the Netherlands have adopted lifestyles more similar to the Dutch.