Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Family Environment Is A Significant Predictor Of Adolescent Obesity

Date:
August 17, 2005
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
Parents have a strong influence over whether or not their children will become overweight or obese, and it's not just their genes that they pass on.

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Parents have a strong influence over whether or nottheir children will become overweight or obese, and it's not just theirgenes that they pass on.

Most significantly, when children grow up in families with bad eatinghabits and sedentary lifestyles dominated by television watching andvideo games, they are 33.3 percent more likely to become overweight orobese as young adults.

Bad eating habits include no parental control over diet and skipping breakfast.

Thesefindings are among others revealed by a new Arizona State Universitystudy on the influence of family environment on adolescent risk forobesity. The study was presented Aug. 14 at the American SociologicalAssociation annual meeting in Philadelphia, Penn.

"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for weight control,"says author Ashley Fenzl Crossman, graduate teaching assistant in ASU'sDepartment of Sociology. "And the amount of time spent in sedentaryactivities is a strong predictor of weight gain. No surprise."

However, a key finding from the study is that kids don't needto engage in high levels of physical activity to prevent obesity.Instead, adolescents who have less time to engage in sedentaryactivities because they are involved in other things -- includingnon-athletic activities such as school clubs, marching band, part-timejobs, volunteer work, church activities or household chores -- are lesslikely to become overweight.

Crossman utilized data from the National Longitudinal Study ofAdolescent Health, a school-based tool designed to assess the health ofadolescents in grades 7 through 12. The study population includes arepresentative sample of all public and private schools in the UnitedStates.

Approximately 6,400 children where selected from two waves of the studythat took place six years apart, in 1995 and again in 2001-2002.

In addition to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, Crossman'sstudy revealed other ways in which parents influence their children'schances of becoming overweight.

Adolescents are more likely to become overweight if their parents areobese. Crossman says that future research should be done with adoptedadolescents to determine what may be genetic or environmentalinfluences within families that have an obese mother or father.

High self-esteem has a positive influence on body weight, andchildren whose parents received a higher level of education have adecreased risk of being overweight or obese.

Household income, however, was not significant, indicating that is theeducational dimension of parents' socioeconomic status that mattersmost for adolescents' weight status.

Interestingly, the stronger the social bonds are between parentand child, the more likely the child is to be overweight. Crossmanspeculates this can be attribute to several factors.

"The closer children are to their parents, the more likely they are tointernalize the values and norms that their parents promote or model.Nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight and 30 percent are obese,"she says. "Other reasons might include over eating due to separationanxiety when the child leaves the home, or parents not wanting tocriticize their children's eating habits when they are young."

Contrary to other reports, Crossman found no evidence thatchildren who live in single parent or stepparent households are morelikely than those who live with two biological or adoptive parents tobe overweight or obese as young adults.

In addition, she found that race and ethnic differences are insignificant.

The prevalence of excessive weight among American adolescents hasincreased dramatically over the past 25 years. Approximately 15 percentof children age 12 to 19 are currently overweight or obese, a one-thirdincrease since the late 1970s.

Experts report that if this incidence of excessive body weightcontinues to rise, being overweight or obese will soon surpasscigarette smoking as the number one cause of preventable disease in theUnited States.

"Our research suggests that prevention must begin at home," Crossmansays. "We need a public health campaign that educates all adults andchildren in the home on the importance of creating a family environmentthat promotes healthy habits."

Crossman has several suggestions for families. Parents and othercaretakers should be urged to exert control over children's diets,including making a healthy breakfast a priority, and to limit theamount of free time that children have to spend on sedentary activities.

Parents and other caretakers also need to be made aware that promotinga positive self-esteem in children is also an important element inpreventing them from the long-term health risks of excessive weight.

Finally, parents who are obese need to understand that they are puttingtheir children at high risk for becoming overweight or obese bymodeling unhealthy habits.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Family Environment Is A Significant Predictor Of Adolescent Obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814161806.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2005, August 17). Family Environment Is A Significant Predictor Of Adolescent Obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814161806.htm
Arizona State University. "Family Environment Is A Significant Predictor Of Adolescent Obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814161806.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins