Blame habits for childhood obesity, not heredity

February 1st, 2011 - 2:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 1 (IANS) Lifestyle and not genes are to be blamed for obesity in kids, a survey has revealed.Children become obese when they eat more school meals, watch more TV and exercise less than their healthy peers, says the survey of 1,003 sixth graders in a school-based health programme in the US.

The results compiled by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Centre indicate that unhealthy habits are feeding the childhood obesity trend, the American Heart Journal reports.

“For the extremely overweight child, genetic screening may be a consideration,” says study senior author Kim A. Eagle, cardiologist and director at Cardiovascular Centre.

“For the rest, increasing physical activity, reducing recreational screen time and improving the nutritional value of school lunches offers great promise to begin a reversal of current childhood obesity trends,” he adds.

The prevalence of obesity among US children aged six to 11 has increased from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008, according to a Michigan statement.

Researchers found that 58 percent of obese children had watched two hours of TV in the previous day, compared to 41 percent of non-obese children.

Forty five percent of obese students always ate school lunch, but only 34 percent of non-obese students ate school lunch.

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