Diet, Physical Activity, Lifestyle Behaviors, and Prevalence of Childhood Obesity in Irish Children: The Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study Protocol

Type Article

Journal Article


E. Keane; P. M. Kearney; I. J. Perry; G. M. Browne; J. M. Harrington

Year of publication



JMIR Res Protoc








BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity is complex, and its aetiology is known to be multifaceted. The contribution of lifestyle behaviors, including poor diet and physical inactivity, to obesity remains unclear. Due to the current high prevalence, childhood obesity is an urgent public health priority requiring current and reliable data to further understand its aetiology. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to explore the individual, family, and environmental factors associated with childhood overweight and obesity, with a specific focus on diet and physical activity. A secondary objective of the study is to determine the average salt intake and distribution of blood pressure in Irish children. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was conducted of children 8-11 years old in primary schools in Cork, Ireland. Urban schools were selected using a probability proportionate to size sampling strategy, and a complete sample of rural schools from one area in Cork County were invited to participate. Information collected included physical measurement data (anthropometric measurements, blood pressure), early morning spot and 24 hour urine samples, a 3 day estimated food diary, and 7 days of accelerometer data. Principal- (school head) reported, parent/guardian-reported, and child-reported questionnaires collected information on lifestyle behaviors and environmental attributes. The Cork Children's Lifestyle Study (CCLaS) was designed by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in University College Cork, Ireland in 2011 and 2012. Piloting and modification of study methods was undertaken. Data collection took place between April 2012 and June 2013. RESULTS: Overall, 27/46 schools and 1075/1641 children, of which 623 were boys, participated. Preliminary data analysis is underway. It is anticipated that the results of the CCLaS study will be available in late 2014. CONCLUSIONS: The CCLaS study has collected in-depth data on a wide range of individual, family, social, and environmental correlates which will allow us to access multilevel influences on childhood obesity. This study will contribute to the evidence base by highlighting current knowledge and gaps regarding the predominant drivers of childhood obesity.