Researchers identify primary factors responsible for preschool obesity

Jan. 15, 2013, Red Orbit

A lack of adequate sleep, having parents with high body mass index (BMI), and having their eating habits restricted for weight control purposes are the three most significant risk factors when it comes to childhood obesity for preschoolers, according to researchers from the University of Illinois.

“We looked at 22 variables that had previously been identified as predictors of child obesity, and the three that emerged as strong predictors did so even as we took into account the influence of the other 19,” said Brent McBride, director of the university’s Child Development Laboratory. “Their strong showing gives us confidence that these are the most important risk factors to address.”

“What’s exciting here is that these risk factors are malleable and provide a road map for developing interventions that can lead to a possible reduction in children’s weight status,” he added. “We should focus on convincing parents to improve their own health status, to change the food environment of the home so that healthy foods are readily available and unhealthy foods are not, and to encourage an early bedtime.” Continue reading

Focus on developmental approach to obesity in children and adolescents

Oct. 22, 2013, Medical Xpress

New studies of factors affecting the risk of obesity in children and adolescents—as well as promising approaches to prevention and treatment—are assembled in the special October Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (JDBP), the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP).

The special issue emphasizes a developmental viewpoint on the crucial problem of childhood obesity, including studies with a cultural focus contributed by professionals across a wide range of disciplines. Highlighting the SDBP’s mission and values, the papers present “a developmental framework for understanding pediatric obesity and informing interventions that work,” according to Guest Editors Carolyn E. Ievers-Landis, Ph.D., and Elissa Jelalian, Ph.D. Continue reading

Obesity risk factors may vary for boys, girls

Aug. 12, 2013, U.S. News & World Report

By Kathleen Doheny

While some behaviors increase the risk of obesity for both boys and girls, new research shows there are gender differences.

For instance, although being on a sports team reduced the risk of obesity for middle school-aged boys, it did not for girls, said study author Dr. Elizabeth Jackson, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

On the other hand, “Girls who drank milk seemed to have more protection [against obesity],” she said.

Meanwhile, certain behaviors raised the risk of obesity for both boys and girls, the study found. Eating school lunch regularly increased the risk of obesity by 29 percent for boys and 27 percent for girls. Watching two or more hours of television a day boosted the odds of obesity by 19 percent for both genders. Continue reading