Medicina (Kaunas) 2009; 45 (5): 395-404

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Associations between schoolchildren’s educational load and health, and the day’s routine

Rita Sketerskienė, Genė Šurkienė, Kęstutis Žagminas

Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Lithuania

Key words: school; basic education curriculum; educational load; health; day’s routine.

Summary. Objective. To estimate the associations between educational load and health, and elements of day’s routine among Lithuanian schoolchildren, attending classes of first stage of basic education curriculum.

Material and methods. During 14–28 November, 2005, the study was performed in 108 secondary schools, providing basic secondary education in Lithuanian language. A total of 3744 schoolchildren and 1601 parents filled in an original, specially designed questionnaire.

Results. More than two-thirds of the schoolchildren (69.2%) estimated their health as very good or good, and 19.2% indicated that they were not ill during the last year. Schoolchildren who reported educational load to be too high estimated their health worse (P<0.001), were ill more frequently (P<0.001), and due health disorders had to limit their regular activities. Educational load had an impact on schoolchildren’s well-being and relationships with parents. Elements of day’s routine depended on gender, grade, and place of residence. Less than one-third (32.8%) of schoolchildren reported 9–10-hour night’s sleep, 33.8% – spending 3 hours outdoors on workdays. Passive activities dominate during schoolchildren’s leisure time. More than half of schoolchildren (60.3%) spend 2–3 hours watching television, 30.7% – 2 or more hours working with computer on workdays.

Conclusions. Too high educational load have a negative impact on schoolchildren’s health and well-being, relationships with parents. Schoolchildren with an adequate educational load follow recommendations of the day’s routine more frequently.

Correspondence to R. Sketerskienė, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, Čiurlionio 21, 03101 Vilnius, Lithuania. E-mail:

Received 16 April 2008, accepted 5 May 2009