Complex solutions for child obesity

Child obesity is a complex problem that requires complex solutions, says research from the University of Sydney. Researchers have found that children with parents who haven’t finished high school and who experience social disadvantage have a higher likelihood of being overweight or obese during their mid-adolescence. These factors flow down to influence the body mass index (BMI) of parents, in turn providing immediate lifestyle impacts, like diet and sedentary time, on a child’s risk of developing obesity. Most studies tend to ignore the root causes of childhood obesity which include social disadvantage. Other interesting findings from the research include how different drivers of obesity play out at different life stages, particularly the influence of free time activity after the age of eight. There are also different influences on how free time is spent and influenced for boys versus girls. For boys, more electronic gaming leads to less active free time. For girls, better sleep quality leads to longer sleep time and more active free time. The study says that the strong and independent link between parents’ BMIs and childhood BMI suggests a biological link. It means, high weight runs in families, and this is in part because of shared genes.