Tag Archives: Child Obesity And Stress

Stressful Experiences Linked to Childhood Obesity

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Stress And Childhood Obesity

We are frequently reminded by the media that, in the western world, obesity in children has increased at an alarming rate since around the 1970s ; worse, this rate of increase is expected to keep on growing for the foreseeable future. Indeed, in the United States, for example, one in six children are now medically classified as overweight or obese.

The reasons that children become obese can be contributed to by both genetic and environmental factors. In the past, research into the causes of childhood obesity have tended to focus on the balance between the child’s intake of calories versus his/her level of physical exercise ; in this article, however, I intend to focus on other environmental causes – more specifically, the effects of stress.

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The link between stress and childhood obesity has only been examined by psychologists since relatively recently. Some of the main findings from studies that have been conducted have been :

– research by the psychologists Avisont and Walters (2007) found that children growing up in one-parent families were more likely to be obese than those who grow up in a secure nuclear family (although this by no means implies a simple, direct, cause and effect relationship ;

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