Healthy kids: The latest research on children and obesity

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Here’s something you probably already know: Childhood obesity is a huge problem in this country. (The CDC recently reported that more than one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.) But what causes it and how are the lives of obese kids really affected? That’s where there is still a lot unknown. Lately, three new studies have been published on those topics, shining more of a light on what causes childhood obesity and how being obese can harm kids’ lives.

  • Having a television in the bedroom ups a child’s risk of becoming obese, according to researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana. Those kids are also more likely to watch more TV compared to those who don’t have a TV in their bedroom. To put it all in perspective, the average 8- to 18-year-old watches more than 4 hours of TV a day and 70 percent have a set in their room.
  • If a teenage girl is obese, she will receive lower grades in school than her classmates who are a healthier weight, according to research from the United Kingdom. And the effects are lasting: If a girl is obese by age 11, she will have poorer grades at age 11, 13, and 16.
  • If a guy starts smoking before the age of 11, his future sons have a higher risk of being overweight or obese, according to British researchers. His daughters will also have a higher risk, but the impact is less extreme on girls than boys.

 

Photo credit: Mayo Clinic

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