Social Stressors Increase Childhood Obesity Risk

Obesity prevention efforts may be particularly helpful for young girls in socially stressful situations, according to a press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Researchers have published a study in the online issue of Pediatrics that shows how female preschoolers are more likely to be at risk for obesity if they have a parent incarcerated or if their mother has depression or substance abuse problems. Other social stressors include: domestic violence, housing and food insecurity.

Girls who experienced more than one social stressor had a higher risk of becoming obese by age 5. Those who endured more than two social stressors have an even higher risk, according to the study.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend parents work with their child’s doctor to help them manage their weight while allowing normal growth and development. The CDC offers many tips for parents concerned about childhood obesity.

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