To identify health behaviors that may be amenable to brief screening and intervention among children in the emergency department (ED), we described the prevalence of health behaviors known to contribute to childhood obesity among middle school students who used the ED recently. Participants included 1590 5th, 7th, and 8th grade students who completed health surveys in 2011. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association between health behaviors and ED use. Children who used the ED reported more unhealthy dietary behaviors, including greater consumption of energy-dense foods such as fried chicken, french fries, and ice cream (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.06–1.37), fast food (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.00–1.14) and sugar-sweetened beverages (OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.14–1.35). There was no association with fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, or screen time. Unhealthy dietary behaviors are associated with ED use in a low-resource urban population of middle school students.


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pp. 701-711
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