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How to deal with children gaining weight.

Dec. 28, 2015|956 views
micah Spread

Many factors have been blamed for the alarming rise in childhood obesity. From too much time spent in front of the television, to too much time spent playing video games, to the growth in consumption of sugary beverages, various things have been suggested as explanations for ballooning rates of obesity among our youth.

Now, researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health have identified another likely candidate: social isolation. "Ongoing scientific updates of our understanding of the childhood obesity epidemic are important and urgent due to the rapid increase in the prevalence of obesity in both developed and developing countries during the last 30 to 40 years, despite countless initiatives to address childhood obesity," said Cheryl Perry, Ph.D.

It’s time to stop blaming television watching, and focus instead on what’s not happening when kids spend hours in front of a screen: social interaction. Spending time playing with friends is an important aspect of childhood development. Kids who sit in front of a television instead of interacting with other children may be doing so because of social factors and friendship dynamics.

According to common sense—and data gathered from the Child Development Supplement to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics—kids who spend more time with friends also spend more time being active. And they are less likely to be obese. The study included information about the health, development, and time use of nearly 3,000 students ages 5 to 18.

"Efforts to reduce child obesity could benefit from careful attention to peer and friendship dynamics rather than simply focusing on time spent watching television," said Elizabeth A. Vandewater, Ph.D., lead author and associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at the School of Public Health. Among other problems, obesity affects school performance, researchers noted in one of several articles published in a special edition of the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 

Accessed July 29, 2015 at: