The Key Reasons Children are Obese
Childhood obesity has more than 2X’d in children and 4X’d in adolescents over the past 30 years, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Big Q: Why?
The Big A: A study conducted by British researchers sought to find out.
They discovered that some of the Key factors seemed to be important in predicting whether or not a child would become overweight or obese, say the researchers from University College London:
- Mothers smoking while pregnant
- Children skipping breakfast
- Kids not having a regular bedtime or sufficient sleep
All of these factors can be modified, the researchers noted, and prompt intervention could have a big impact in curbing the growth in childhood overweight and obesity.
Being overweight or obese is linked to several negative aspects including poorer mental health which can extend into adulthood.
Overweight and obese children report lower self-esteem, unhappiness, and risky behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
The research is based on the Millennium Cohort Study, a study of children born into 19,244 families in the UK between September 2000 and January 2002.
“It is well known that children of overweight or obese mothers are more likely to be overweight themselves, probably reflecting the ‘obesogenic’ environment and perhaps a genetic predisposition to gain weight,” said study leader Yvonne Kelly.
“This study shows that disrupted routines, exemplified by irregular sleeping patterns and skipping breakfast, could influence weight gain through increased appetite and the consumption of energy-dense foods.
“These findings support the need for intervention strategies aimed at multiple spheres of influence on BMI growth,” Ms. Kelly said.
After taking account of background factors, researchers found that breastfeeding and the early introduction of solid food were not associated with children’s weight.
In addition, sugary drink consumption, fruit intake, TV viewing, and sports participation were not strong predictors of unhealthy weight gain.
According to the CDC, the percent of obese children increased from 7% in Y 1980 to nearly 18% in Y 2012. The percentage of obese adolescents also increased from 5% to almost 21% during the same frame.
Childhood obesity has short-term effects on health, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The CDC found that 70% of obese young people had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
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