Background and aim: The body mass index (BMI) of Iranian preschoolers is noticeably increasing. Thus, studying the factors influencing BMI in preschool children is crucial. The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of lifestyle factors on BMI of preschool children, residing in Behbahan city, southwest Iran, in 2016.
Methods: A total of 120 preschool children, aged 4 to 6 years, participated in this cross-sectional study. Multi-stage random sampling was done. Using researcher-developed questionnaires whose validity and reliability was confirmed, demographic and lifestyle data were obtained, as the questionnaires were completed by the subject’s mothers. Lifestyle factors included physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, sugar-free beverage intake, and screen time. Multiple logistic regression was conducted to analyze the influence of lifestyle-related behaviors on BMI. Data were analyzed by means of the SPSS 22 software and p<0.05 was resulted as the meaningful level of statistics.
Results: The average BMI values for children was 15.13±1.90 kg/m2. A total of 88.3% of children did not receive 5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Also, 12.5% consumed more than one serving of sweetened beverages per day. Only 2.5% engaged in 60 minutes of structured physical activity every day and 40% did not limit screen-time viewing to 2 hours per day or less. The findings indicated that the physical activity and screen time affected the BMI (p<0.05), and the duration of physical activity had inverse relationship with obesity, and screen time was directly related to obesity.
Conclusion: Understanding the factors affecting the BMI of preschool children can inform the development of interventions to impact children’s weight-related behavior and it can be used as the basis for future healthy body weight policies. Efforts to lower the obesity rate of preschoolers should be focused on the lifestyle behaviors, especially on the physical activity and screen time.


Keywords: Children, Preschool, Body Mass Index, Lifestyle, Health promotion program


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