Health Behaviors in Fifth and Sixth Grade Schoolers of Korea

Monday, 7 July 2008
Sunha Choi, PhD, RN , Department of Nursing, Wonju campus, Kangnung National University, Wonju, Kangwon-do, South Korea
Youngmee Ahn, PhD, RN , Department of Nursing, Inha University, Incheon, South Korea

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand current phenomena in health behaviors of Korean Schoolers.

Learning Objective 2: Learner will be able to identify problem areas in health behaviors of Korean Schoolers.

Purpose: Childhood is a critical period to learn and practice health behaviors, and establish individual patterns of health behaviors on regular bases. The descriptive study was conducted to explain current phenomena in health behaviors of Korean schoolers.

Method: A total of 540 fifth and sixth grade schoolers was recruited in 4 elementary schools located in semi-urban areas after the institutional review as well as child's voluntary consent for study participation. The questionnaire consisted of 21 items in five categories; nutritional supply (5), exercise (2), substance abuse (4), daily routine (5) and health-related practice (5).

Results: On nutrition, only 72.5% subjects had a daily breakfast. There was no relation between breakfast and snack. About 30% of subject played heavy exercise more than 3 times per week while 48.2% report no or little exercise in regular base. Fifty-two percent of subject reported frequent light exercise. Among 538 schoolers, 109 (20.3%) reported any experience of substance-taking (alcohol-drinking, smoking, inhalator, powder or pill) more than once per month at least. Children with substance-taking experience showed greater tendency in skip breakfast, irregular mealtime, and more daily snack. Most subjects reported adequate daily routines for sleeping hour, stool passing, handwashing, and teethbrushing. In health-related practice, most of children reported the good compliance if they take a medicine. However 42.1% of children showed no or little attention to their sitting habit. As well 37% of them reported poor stress management. Forty percent of children said that they have not or little worried on their health status.

Conclusions: In general, most children revealed good health behaviors in terms of handwashing and teethbrusghing. Skipping breakfast, lack of exercise, poor sitting habit, and poor stress management was the area of further education and improvement. Substances-exposure increased the nutritional risk, which could impair balanced growth and development in Korean schoolers.