To assess whether children’s diet and physical activity patterns differ between neighboring communities with differing resources.
We compared the health behaviors of middle-school students in two Michigan communities; Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti; median household income of US$46,299 and 28,610, respectively. Self-reported diet and physical activity habits were collected.
A total of 733 middle-school students from two neighboring communities (five Ann Arbor and two Ypsilanti middle schools) participated in the study.
Data on age, gender, and racial/ethnic factors were collected as part of the baseline assessment. Students were also measured for height and weight. Body mass index was calculated. Information on diet and physical activity in addition to amounts and types of sedentary activities was assessed via questionnaires.
More Ypsilanti schoolchildren were obese compared to the Ann Arbor schoolchildren (22.2% vs 12.6%; P = 0.01). The Ypsilanti schoolchildren reported higher consumption of fried meats (7.5% vs 3.2%; P = 0.02), French fries or chips (14.3% vs 7.9%; P = 0.02), punch or sports drinks (24.1% vs 12.2%; P = 0.001) and soda (18% vs 7.9%; P < 0.001) compared to the Ann Arbor children. School-based activities including physical education classes (58.6% vs 89.7%; P < 0.001) and sports teams (34.6% vs 62.8%; P < 0.001) differed for Ypsilanti schoolchildren vs Ann Arbor children. Sedentary behaviors were higher in the Ypsilanti children.