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Friends can help reduce child obesity levels

According to a study carried out in the United States, children who have older brothers and sisters who are overweight are five times more likely to be at risk of becoming obese.

However, the research also revealed that overweight or obese children who have friends with healthy eating habits will find it easier to shed the pounds.

Children with overweight parents and no siblings double their chances of becoming obese. The survey was carried out across 10,200 homes in the US, with results indicating that the number of children in the home and gender could affect child obesity levels.

Experts from Duke University, Cornell University and Massachusetts General Hospital collaborated on the study, finally publishing the results in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Mark C. Pachucki, the lead on the investigation, said that a child’s weight would be more likely to be influenced by a sibling who is overweight than a parent who has weight issues. According to the experts, brothers and sisters are more likely to eat the same foods and have similar activity levels. Friends who make nutritious choices at mealtimes and are a healthy weight will encourage a child to make the same positive choices.

This is good news for schools in the UK, where many are introducing healthy tuckshop food. Tyne and Wear institutions are amongst those actively involved in encouraging children to make the right choices for optimum health. As research indicates that children will eat similar foods to their friends, this is a positive step in the right direction in the fight against child obesity.

Posted by Jennifer
July 27, 2014
Research

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