Childhood obesity linked to poverty, parenting style: Strategies to combat the rising problem need to reflect these factors, suggests new research from Concordia University — ScienceDaily


It’s not just genes that are the cause: socio-demographic and environmental elements are also contributing factors. Lower socio-economic status, living in neighbourhoods that aren’t walkable and poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables can all increase the risk of being overweight.


With rates on the rise, a team of Montreal-based researchers embarked on a study to find out how parenting styles and the broader social environment combine to affect ‘s obesity risk.


“We thought that certain types of parenting would be associated with a higher risk of childhood obesity, and that the strength of this association would differ between children living in poverty and those who aren’t,” says Lisa Kakinami, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in Concordia’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics in collaboration with the PERFORM Centre.

The study, published in Preventive Medicine, suggests that both poverty and parenting style are important predictors of childhood health. “Successful strategies to combat childhood obesity need to reflect these independent and interactive associations on health,” Kakinami says.


In 2013, 42 million infants and young children worldwide were overweight or obese. If current trends continue, that number will increase to 70 million by 2025, according to the World Heath Organization.



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