Rise of Childhood Obesity Due to Poverty, Lack of School Safety

April 30th, 2015

New research suggests poverty and lack of safety at school increases the risk of childhood obesity. Universite de Montreal researchers took into consideration health behavior and family background data of 1,234 young children in Quebec while asking them whether they had been bullied or felt unsafe at school. Additionally, the students’ teachers reported the overall atmosphere of the school.

Results showed that poverty-ridden children were more likely to be overweight despite their tendency to have higher levels of physical activity. Also, children who felt victimized at school showed links to obesity and higher levels of screen-time yet no evidence concluded a correlation based solely on the amount of screen-time. Therefore, this studyconcluded that the leading factors contributing to childhood obesity are poverty and feelings of being unsafe.

Creating a safe environment for youth at school, among other environments, could help reduce the connection between poverty and being overweight. Efforts to prevent bullying in school alone may not be enough to create a secure atmosphere. In fact, many youth felt unsafe regardless of bullying due to other factors such as the condition of school grounds, relationships with teachers, and disorganization. Gianfrancesco Genoso agrees that, ultimately, improving school grounds and enveloping an organized, respectful environment could prove beneficial to the health of children.

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