Environmental Causes Of Child Obesity

child obesityChildhood obesity is influenced at home, child care, school and community environments related to food intake and physical activity. Environmental factors with lifestyle play as a role cause (see childhood obesity causes) in child obesity.

At Home: Influence of the Home Environment on the Development of Obesity in Children

Family interface and the home environment can influence the behaviors of children and teen associated to calorie consumption and physical activity. Parents are role models for their children who are likely to develop habits similar to their parents (see childhood obesity & parents). Poor eating habits, especially eating of high calorie snacks can cause obesity in children. Home is an important place to learn about correct nutrition and sufficient exercise childhood obesity at home(see childhood obesity & exercise). Outlook, Habits, and beliefs about food selection and how to spend family leisure time are significant factors to make a healthy relationship with food.
Some research also shows that extensive viewing of television (see television childhood obesity) can cause obesity in children (Dietz and Gortmaker, 1985). Factors involved here are displacement of physical activity coupled with increased calorie consumption caused by the effects of television advertising (see childhood obesity advertising).

Within child care:

childhood obesity in childcareAbout 80% of children aged 5 years and younger with working mothers are in child care for 40 hours a week on average. Child care providers are sharing responsibility with parents for children during important developmental years. Child care can be a setting in which healthy eating and physical activity (see childhood obesity & physical activity) habits are developed to avoid child obesity.

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Child Obesity and Community

child obesity and community

Community environment also plays a major role in shaping the habits and perceptions of children and adolescents. Community environment influences access to physical activity opportunity and access to affordable and healthy foods (see childhood obesity & food). For example, a lack of secure bike paths, sidewalks, and parks in neighborhoods can depress children from walking or biking to school as well as take part in physical activity. In addition, lack of access to affordable, healthy food choices in neighborhood fast food (see childhood obesity fast food) markets can be a obstacle to purchasing healthy foods.[Read more]

Childhood Obesity In Schools
► In addition to requiring physical education, other opportunities for schools to increase energy expenditure include encouraging physical activity, nutrition (see childhood obesity & nutrition) during recess and providing after-school sports and health-related fitness programs.

childhood obesity in schools

► Nutrition education could give students the tools they need to make healthy choices regarding eating and physical activity which even helps obese children in decreasing the effects of child obesity (see childhood obesity effects).
► Even though schools could potentially have a large effect on determinants of obesity in children, results of studies examining school-based obesity interventions have been variable. A analysis of these studies found that approach designed at younger children had better long-term results than those focused on adolescents, which may suggest that eating and physical activity behaviors are more difficult to change as children get older.[Read more]

childhood obesity preventionTips for parents

What can you do as a parent or guardian or caregiver to help preventing childhood obesity? We have some ideas in our Childhood Obesity Prevention section.

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