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      The relationship between mentoring on healthy behaviors and well-being among Israeli youth in boarding schools: a mixed-methods study

      research-article
      , ,
      BMC Pediatrics
      BioMed Central
      Boarding school, Mentoring, Physical activity, Heath habits

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          Abstract

          Background

          Although 10% of Israeli youth live in boarding schools, few studies, except for those focusing on mental health, have examined the well-being of this population subgroup. Thus, the aims of this study were to explore: (1) the prevalence rates of five aspects of well-being (i.e., healthy habits, avoidance of risky behaviors, peer relationships, adult relationships, and school environment) in youth residing at Israeli boarding schools; (2) the relationships between youth well-being and youth perception of their mentor; and (3) the different subgroups of youth with higher rates of risky and healthy behaviors.

          Methods

          This study used a mixed-methods approach including a quantitative survey of youth (n = 158) to examine the association between youth behaviors and perception of their mentor; and a qualitative study consisting of interviews (n = 15) with boarding school staff to better understand the context of these findings.

          Results

          Greater proportions of boarding school youth, who had positive perceptions of their mentor (the significant adult or parent surrogate), believed both that their teachers thought they were good students (p < 0.01), and that they themselves were good students (p < 0.01). This finding is supported by the qualitative interviews with mentors. Youth living in a boarding school had very similar healthy habits compared to other youth living in Israel; however, youth in the general population, compared to those in the boarding schools, were eating more sweets (OR = 1.39, 95% CI = 1.02-1.90) and engaging in higher levels of television use (OR = 2.64, 95% CI = 1.97-3.54).

          Conclusions

          Mentors, the significant adult for youth living in residential education environments, have a major influence on school performance, the major focus of their work; mentors had no impact on healthy behaviors. Overall, there were many similarities in healthy behaviors between youth at boarding schools and youth in the general population; however, the differences in healthy habits seemed related to policies governing the boarding schools as well as its structural elements.

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          Most cited references57

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          Comparison of overweight and obesity prevalence in school-aged youth from 34 countries and their relationships with physical activity and dietary patterns.

          The purposes of this systematic review were to present and compare recent estimates of the prevalence of overweight and obesity in school-aged youth from 34 countries and to examine associations between overweight and selected dietary and physical activity patterns. Data consisted of a cross-sectional survey of 137 593 youth (10-16 years) from the 34 (primarily European) participating countries of the 2001-2002 Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children Study. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was determined based on self-reported height and weight and the international child body mass index standards. Logistic regression was employed to examine associations between overweight status with selected dietary and physical activity patterns. The two countries with the highest prevalence of overweight (pre-obese + obese) and obese youth were Malta (25.4% and 7.9%) and the United States (25.1% and 6.8%) while the two countries with the lowest prevalence were Lithuania (5.1% and 0.4%) and Latvia (5.9% and 0.5%). Overweight and obesity prevalence was particularly high in countries located in North America, Great Britain, and south-western Europe. Within most countries physical activity levels were lower and television viewing times were higher in overweight compared to normal weight youth. In 91% of the countries examined, the frequency of sweets intake was lower in overweight than normal weight youth. Overweight status was not associated with the intake of fruits, vegetables, and soft drinks or time spent on the computer. In conclusion, the adolescent obesity epidemic is a global issue. Increasing physical activity participation and decreasing television viewing should be the focus of strategies aimed at preventing and treating overweight and obesity in youth.
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            The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families.

            Using social media Web sites is among the most common activity of today's children and adolescents. Any Web site that allows social interaction is considered a social media site, including social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs. Such sites offer today's youth a portal for entertainment and communication and have grown exponentially in recent years. For this reason, it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for children and adolescents. Pediatricians are in a unique position to help families understand these sites and to encourage healthy use and urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, "Facebook depression," sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content.
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              • Article: not found

              Qualitative and mixed methods provide unique contributions to outcomes research.

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                agmon.mn@gmail.com
                czlotnick@univ.haifa.ac.il
                fanat@zahav.net.il
                Journal
                BMC Pediatr
                BMC Pediatr
                BMC Pediatrics
                BioMed Central (London )
                1471-2431
                15 February 2015
                15 February 2015
                2015
                : 15
                Affiliations
                [ ]The Cheryl Spencer Department of Nursing, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, 199 Aba Khoushy Ave Mount Carmel, Haifa, 3498838 Israel
                [ ]Administration for Rural Education and Youth- Aliya, Ministry of Education, 2 Hashlosha St, Tel- Aviv, Israel
                Article
                327
                10.1186/s12887-015-0327-6
                4340683
                bbaa9738-b4ac-485c-9761-d68b576590c3
                © Agmon et al.; licensee BioMed Central. 2015

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Categories
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2015

                Pediatrics
                boarding school,mentoring,physical activity,heath habits
                Pediatrics
                boarding school, mentoring, physical activity, heath habits

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