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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Childhood environment and obesity

item HUGHES, SHERYL - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item POWER, THOMAS - Washington State University
item DAVE, JAYNA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item O'CONNOR, TERESIA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2015
Publication Date: 1/9/2016
Citation: Hughes, S.O., Power, T.G., Dave, J.M., O'Connor, T.M. 2016. Childhood environment and obesity. In: Ahima, R.S., editor. Metabolic Syndrome: A Comprehensive Textbook. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. p. 243-259.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: US children are at risk for developing childhood obesity. Currently, 23% of children ages 2–5 are overweight or obese, i.e., at or above the 85th percentile. This prevalence becomes even higher as children age, with 34% of children ages 6–11 being overweight or obese. Ethnic minority children are at a higher risk for overweight/obesity with 46% of Hispanic and 38% of Black school age children above the 85th percentile. This is an important area of interest because childhood obesity is associated with health risks and social/emotional problems while children are young as well as long-term health risks when they reach adulthood. Because identifying the environmental factors that contribute to childhood obesity will help practitioners develop effective prevention and treatment programs for childhood obesity and metabolic syndrome, the purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the literature in this area. Because the literature is voluminous, the review is selective – focusing on the primary environmental risk factors that have been identified for the development of childhood obesity. Five major areas are addressed: diet and food environment, physical activity and sedentary behaviors, feeding practices, parenting styles, and family routines.