Approach to prevention of obesity of Roma population in the Region of South Bohemia with focus on selected eating behaviors.

OBJECTIVE: To survey obesity prevention methods for use in the Roma population with a focus on eating behaviors.

METHODS: A semi-structured interview was used to identify potentially useful obesity prevention methods. Basic anthropometric measurements were also gathered at the same time. This study was part of the "Obesity and overweight in the Roma minority in the Region of South Bohemia" research project (grant project 280-COST-LD14114). Participants consisted of members of the Roma minority (302 respondents) as well as the majority (Czech) population for comparisons.

RESULTS: Differences in eating behaviors like irregular eating schedules and excessive consumption of fast food were observed. Statistically significant differences between the Roma minority and the majority (Czech/non-Roma) population were found in this area with the help of statistical significance tests. The Chi-square characteristic of independence (χ2) was, in case of this distribution, valued at 30.815 with 5 degrees of freedom, P < 0.001. The analyses, based on the second degree of classification, identified statistically significant differences between the Roma minority and the majority population. Members of the Roma minority attended preventive health check-ups statistically less often than members of the majority population. Differences between the majority and the Roma population were also found in the degree of patient cooperation with general practitioners.

CONCLUSION: The results show that the Roma population is more likely to engage in eating behaviors that can contribute to overweight and obesity than the majority population. Based on the results of a semi-structured interview and on the results of anthropometric measurements, we can say that the Roma population is at a greater health risk, relative to overweight and obesity, than the majority population.

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