Childhood obesity is a serious problem and many factors can affect its development. This article looks at some of the main things that cause children to gain weight and what happens when they do. It also discusses environmental, genetic, and socio-cultural factors. These factors are interconnected and can be manipulated to reduce the risk of obesity. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to help prevent childhood obesity. Below are some tips to keep your children healthy:
Recent studies have linked frequent family meals with a lower risk of childhood obesity. Family meals are usually healthy and include whole grains and fruits. A new study examines the protective effects of frequent family meals. The findings are significant when family meal frequency is more than three per week. However, the findings do not hold for less than three meals per week.
The number of family meals is closely linked to childhood obesity. The US Department of Agriculture suggests that family meals should be included in a healthy diet plan for children. However, families are under financial strain, which may make it difficult to provide nutritious meals. However, family meals are a great way to protect children from obesity and other health complications associated with unhealthy diets.
Genetic factors play an important role in childhood obesity. In recent years, researchers have identified a number of genetic loci associated with obesity. Among these, the fat mass and obesity-associated protein (FTO) gene is of particular interest. This gene regulates energy expenditure and hyperphagia, which contribute to obesity. Other loci linked to obesity include TNNI3K and POMC. In a 2010 study, two more obesity loci were discovered.
In a study by Bouchard et al., researchers identified a genetic polymorphism linked to the risk of childhood obesity. These researchers examined the effects of genetic polymorphism on body composition, and physical activity, as well as pulmonary function, and lipid concentrations. The results were reported in the Am J Hum Biol journal.
There are a number of environmental factors that are associated with the development of childhood obesity. However, many of these factors have not been studied in depth or systematically. This has limited the number of studies that can be applied to the development of childhood obesity. Many of the studies that have been conducted in the past have been based on animal studies and rely on hypothesis-driven approaches. Additionally, they often fail to address the joint effects of multiple environmental factors.
The built environment also plays an important role in determining a child’s weight status. Studies have shown that children who live in neighborhoods that are safe are less likely to be overweight or obese. Also, children who live in areas with high green space are less likely to be obese.
One of the biggest contributors to childhood obesity is the promotion of processed food culture. Fast food companies target particular demographics, including African-American children, who are exposed to a higher percentage of food-related television ads than non-Hispanic white children. Increased television viewing is another major factor, with a recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation finding that African-American children watched the television for longer periods than non-Hispanic white children.
Socio-cultural factors are also involved in the development of obesity. The use of food in our society is often social, rewarding, and a means of socializing. These uses of food can promote unhealthy relationships with food.
Physical inactivity is one of the primary causes of the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States. Since 1980, the percentage of overweight young people has more than doubled. Today, 60% of overweight children and adolescents have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor and 25% have two or more. In addition, childhood obesity has been linked to the rise of type 2 diabetes among adolescents, previously considered an adult-onset disease.
Other factors contributing to childhood obesity include family behaviors. Busy families tend to consume more high-calorie foods and beverages and spend less time outdoors. As a result, children spend more time indoors, becoming more sedentary. As the popularity of smartphones, tablets, and video games increases, more children are spending less time playing sports.
Researchers say physical activity improves a variety of factors, including body composition and metabolic profile. It also enhances brain and cognitive development and increases social and emotional intelligence. The benefits of physical activity are numerous and far-reaching. For children, even a simple 20-minute daily walk can go a long way in helping them lose weight.