Risk factors for childhood obesity

September 12, 2005

Although there is an epidemic of childhood obesity in western societies we know very little about the broader social causes. It is thus difficult to target prevention programmes. In an attempt to better understand the problem of obesity in children, Paul Veugelers and Angela Fitzgerald interviewed all grade 5 students in Nova Scotia and their school principals. Among the over 4000 students, 33% were overweight and 10% were obese. Compared to normal weight children, overweight children were 61% more likely to eat and buy lunch at school, to reside in low-income neighbourhoods, and were less likely to attend physical education classes and to eat supper regularly at home.

The study shows that school progammes that encourage healthy lunches and physical activity may be useful targets for preventive programmes. Children living in low-income neighbourhoods are particularly at risk of overweight and obesity.
-end-
http://www.cmaj.ca/misc/press/pg607.pdf

-- P.J. Veugelers, A.L. Fitzgerald

Canadian Medical Association Journal

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