To assess the prevalence of obesity and major physical examination items including dental caries, myopia, pinworm, hematuria, and proteinuria among school children in Hualien, Taiwan. In addition, the health status differences between gender, grader, levels of residence urbanization, and body mass index (BMI) were examined.
Cross-sectional studies with a total of 11,080 students (age, 7–14 years) in grades 1, 4, and 7 were evaluated for weight, height, routine physical examination, and urine analysis during the 2010 Student Health Examination in Hualien. Frequencies, Chi-square test, and logistic regression were conducted using SPSS.
Of the 11,080 students evaluated, 1357 (12.2%) were overweight, and 1421 (12.8%) were obese. There were significant differences in overweight/obese prevalence by gender, by grader, and by levels of residence urbanization. Dental caries, myopia, and obesity were the most prevalent health problems among these students (75.6%, 33.0%, and 12.8%, respectively). In crude and adjusted analyses, research results showed that there were significant differences in the prevalence of major physical examination items between different gender, grader, levels of residence urbanization, and BMI groups. Girls had a higher prevalence of dental caries, myopia, and hematuria than boys (all p < 0.01), whereas boys had a higher prevalence of pinworm than girls (p = 0.02). Students in higher grades had significantly higher prevalence of myopia, hematuria, and proteinuria (all p < 0.01), whereas students in lower grades had higher prevalence of dental caries and pinworm (p < 0.01). Students with abnormal BMI had lower prevalence of pinworm (p < 0.01). Students residing in suburban and rural areas had higher prevalence of dental caries, pinworm, and hematuria (all p < 0.01), and lower prevalence of myopia than students residing in urban areas (all p < 0.01).
Routine health examination provides an important way to detect students’ health problems. Our study elucidated major health problems among school children in Hualien, Taiwan. In addition, the results also indicated that the prevalence of health problems had a significant relationship with gender, grader, levels of residence urbanization, and BMI. It is suggested that school health interventions should consider students’ health profiles along with their risk factors status in planning.