11 Dec, 2015

Poorer children nearly three times as likely to be obese, new study finds

Medical Xpress | December 10, 2015

A new study has questioned why poorer children are at higher risk of obesity compared to their better-off peers. The findings are published today in The European Journal of Public Health.

Researchers from University College London and London School of Economics used data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). This tracks nearly 20,000 families from across the UK. This study used measurements made when the  were aged 5 and again at age 11.

The link between relative poverty and  was stark. At age 5, poor children were almost twice as likely to be obese compared with their better off peers. 6.6% of children from families in the poorest fifth of the sample were obese while the figure for the richest fifth is just 3.5%. By the age of 11 the gap has widened, nearly tripling to 7.9% of the poorest fifth are obese; for the best-off, the figure is 2.9%.

Abstract: To assess the impact of physical behaviour, the study compared the frequency of sport or exercise, active play with a parent, hours spent watching TV or playing on a computer, journeys by bike and the time that children went to bed. It also compared dietary habits such as whether the child skipped breakfast as well as fruit and sweet drink consumption.

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