Azara Blog: Factors identified with obesity in children

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Date published: 2005/05/20

The BBC says:

Three-year-old children who watch more than eight hours of TV a week are at a higher risk of obesity, a study says.

TV watching was one of eight factors, including lack of sleep and parental obesity, linked to an increased risk of weight problems in young children.

University of Glasgow and Bristol researchers said the findings supported the theory that early life environment could determine obesity.

The study of 9,000 children appeared in the British Medical Journal.

Child obesity levels have shot up in recent years.

Among two to four-year-olds obesity has doubled since the early 1990s, while the rate has trebled for six to 15-year-olds.

The eight key factors identified by the researchers were:

Researchers said the way these factors might increase risk were complex.

A lot of this is confusing correlation and causation, and the remainder is so obvious you have to wonder how anybody was paid to do such amazing research. For example, is anyone surprised that "rapid weight gain in the first year of life" is linked to obesity? If you are going to be fat it's not too unbelievable that there's a good chance you are going to be fat from early on. But pointing out that link is not only trivial, it is dangerous, because the way the media reports it, the implication is that if you prevent a baby from gaining weight in the first year, say by half-starving it to death, then it might not be (as) fat later. But half-starving a baby is almost certainly going to make things worse than being fat.

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