12 February 2011

Childhood obesity linked to lifestyle choices according to study

Nurture, not nature, leads to childhood obesity. At least that is the conclusion of a University of Michigan Health System study of 1,003 school children between the ages of 6 and 11.

While genetics were not fully discounted as a causal factor in childhood obesity, the study found that lifestyle choices and the absence of regular exercise contributed more to childhood weight gain than genetic considerations.

Studying the results of health checkups of more than a thousand Michigan school children, The University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center found that obese school children were more apt to eat a school lunch and spend more time playing video games or watching television per day than healthier kids, and fewer were involved in team sports.

The growth in childhood obesity has sparked several state and federal efforts to curb its growth. In Michigan Project Healthy Schools was implemented to teach middle school children the value of exercise and a nutritious diet.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was recently signed by President Obama in an effort to make school lunches healthier and reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar in school lunch offerings.

Gordon Harvey | @VeganG26_2
Gordon is a college professor, marathoner, and vegan. He is a strong believer in the power of exercise and smart food choices for healthy and compassionate living, and in education for enlightening us as a society. Gordon hosts "This Running Life" podcast and co-hosts "The Country Vegan, City Vegan" podcast. He also publishes the "Vegan in the South" blog.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/yourdon