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Disadvantaged neighbourhood kids more likely to be obese as adults: Study

ANI | Updated: Aug 28, 2019 19:07 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Aug 28 (ANI): Children who grow up in disadvantaged neighbourhoods are nearly one-third more likely to experience obesity as adults, reveals a study.
The study published in the journal 'Health & Place' offered a view of the lasting influence a neighbourhood can have on unhealthy weight gain.
"Growing up in disadvantaged neighbourhood sticks with you, and can have a negative impact on one's health through increasing one's chance of obesity in adulthood," said Steven Alvarado, lead author of the study.
Among respondents followed in the data across different age ranges, the chance is 13 per cent greater among children up to age 10 who live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and 29 per cent higher for kids aged 11 to 18. Overall, the odds rose 31 per cent.
Alvarado defined 'disadvantaged' neighbourhoods based on seven variables, including median income and home values and the percentage of residents who were living in poverty, unemployed or had earned bachelor's degrees.
But measuring a neighbourhood's association with adult outcomes including obesity is complex. Researchers must consider "unobserved" factors not included in their data that might explain any association between childhood neighborhoods and obesity in adulthood.
Genes, for example, or high parental stress levels associated with household instability might be more responsible for children's later weight gain.
The study accounted for these factors by comparing siblings. The siblings largely shared the same genes and parenting habits but may have experienced different neighborhood circumstances growing up, because their families moved or their neighborhoods changed over time between sibling births.
Alvarado's study is the first to adjust for criteria such as grandparents' experiences in segregated schools and neighborhoods while exploring the link between growing up in tough neighborhoods and adult obesity.
"We must continue to consider the context in which individuals are making decisions, the neighborhood resources that could serve as catalysts or suppressors for any genetic predispositions toward obesity in adulthood," he said. (ANI)

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