Background: Poor eating habits increase children’s risk of chronic diseases such as overweight and obesity, adult diabetes, and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the eating habits of school-age children and their impact on children’s body mass index. Methods: Multistage cluster sampling was used to sample 2224 students in grades 4 to 6 from 16 primary schools in Changsha. A self-designed questionnaire was used to collect general demographic, eating habit, and snack consumption data from school-age children. Height and weight were measured so that the body mass index Z-score could be calculated and evaluated according to the 2007 World Health Organization’s Body Mass Index (BMI) reference standard. Results: The prevalence rates of overweight and obesity in school-age children were 17.0% and 8.3%, respectively. Boys had higher rates of overweight and obesity than girls (19.9% vs. 13.6%, 12.9% vs. 3.0%, respectively, p
< 0.05). Among the total population of children, 71.6% reported picky eating habits, and 55.1% had late-night snacks. Children who skipped breakfast (OR 1.507 and 95% CI 1.116~2.035) and ate puffed food (OR 1.571 and 95% CI 1.170~2.110) were more likely to be overweight/obese. Conclusions: The eating habits of school-age children are closely related to their weight status. Poor eating habits can be risk factors for overweight and obesity. The dietary management of children should be strengthened so that they develop good eating habits and the incidence of overweight and obesity in school-age children decreases.
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