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The Three Variables That Affect Childhood Obesity

You may recall the checklist of seven risk factors for childhood obesity I posted some two years ago. A new study conducted by the University of Missouri corroborated one of those measures and added two more as variables that play crucial roles in a child's future weight.

Researchers reviewed data on some 8,000 children between kindergarten and third grade to identify factors associated with a school-age child's weight. Children were divided into three categories: Those who were never overweight, others who became overweight by the time they reached third grade and a third group who became overweight during kindergarten and stayed that way through third grade.

No surprise, an excessive amount of TV watching, fewer family meals and neighborhoods parents perceived weren't safe for outdoor play -- meaning no exercise time -- all contributed to higher obesity levels.

For instance, the presence of all three variables contributed to a child being overweight by the time he or she reached kindergarten. And, kids who watched too much TV and ate fewer meals with their families were more likely to be overweight by the time they reached first grade.

You can fight obesity all you want in our schools, but controlling the epidemic depends on parental guidance or, more importantly, the lack of it.

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 107, No. 1, January 2007: 53-61

Nutra Ingredients USA.com January 4, 2007

Science News January 4, 2007