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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Design and descriptive results of the "Growth, Exercise and Nutrition Epidemiological Study In preSchoolers": The GENESIS Study

Yannis Manios

Author Affiliations

Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece

BMC Public Health 2006, 6:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-32

Published: 15 February 2006



The Growth, Exercise and Nutrition Epidemiological Study in preSchoolers (GENESIS) attempts to evaluate the food and nutrient intakes, as well as growth and development of a representative sample of Greek toddlers and preschool children. In the current work the study design, data collection procedures and some preliminary data of the GENESIS study are presented.


From April 2003 to July 2004, 1218 males and 1156 females 1 to 5 years old, stratified by parental educational level (Census 1999), were examined from 105 nurseries in five counties. Approximately 300 demographic, lifestyle, physical activity, dietary, anthropometrical and DNA variables have been recorded from the study population (children and parents).


Regarding anthropometrical indices, boys were found to be taller than girls at all ages (P < 0.05) and heavier only for the age period from 1 to 3 years old (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found between genders regarding the prevalence of at risk of overweight (16.5% to 18.6% for boys and 18.5 to 20.6 % for girls) and overweight (14.0% to 18.9% for boys and 12.6% to 20.0% for girls). Additionally, boys older than 2 years of age were found to have a higher energy intake compared to girls (P < 0.05). A similar tendency was observed regarding the mean dietary intake of fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates and protein with boys exhibiting a higher intake than girls in most age groups (P < 0.05).


The prevalence of overweight in the current preschool population is considerably high. Future but more extensive analyses of the GENESIS data will be able to reveal the interactions of the parameters leading to this phenomenon.