Nav: Home

Kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods more likely to be obese as adults

August 27, 2019

ITHACA, N.Y. - Children who grow up in disadvantaged neighborhoods are nearly one-third more likely to experience obesity as adults, according to new research from Cornell University.

The research, which offers a more precise and longer-term view than previously available of the lasting influence a neighborhood can have on unhealthy weight gain, shows the risk of obesity is strongest for teens.

"Growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood sticks with you, and can have a negative impact on one's health through increasing one's chance of obesity in adulthood," said lead author Steven Alvarado, professor of sociology.

Among respondents followed in the data across different age ranges, that chance is 13% greater among children up to age 10 who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and 29% higher for kids aged 11 to 18. Overall, the odds rose 31%.

Alvarado defined "disadvantaged" neighborhoods based on seven variables, including median income and home values and the percentage of residents who were living in poverty, unemployed or had earned bachelor's degrees. But measuring a neighborhood's association with adult outcomes including obesity is complex. Researchers must consider "unobserved" factors not included in their data that might explain any association between childhood neighborhoods and obesity in adulthood.

Genes, for example, or high parental stress level associated with household instability might be more responsible for children's later weight gain.

The study accounted for these factors by comparing siblings. The siblings largely shared the same genes and parenting habits but may have experienced different neighborhood circumstances growing up, because their families moved or their neighborhoods changed over time between sibling births.

Alvarado's study is the first to adjust for criteria such as grandparents' experiences in segregated schools and neighborhoods, while exploring the link between growing up in tough neighborhoods and adult obesity.

"We must continue to consider the context in which individuals are making decisions, the neighborhood resources that could serve as catalysts or suppressors for any genetic predispositions toward obesity in adulthood," he said.
-end-
The study, "The indelible weight of place: Childhood neighborhood disadvantage, timing of exposure, and obesity across adulthood," was published in Health & Place.

For more information, see this Cornell Chronicle story.

Cornell University has dedicated television and audio studios available for media interviews supporting full HD, ISDN and web-based platforms.

Cornell University

Related Science Articles:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.
Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.
Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...