3 most important risk factors for childhood obesity

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Insufficient sleep, overweight or obese parents, and restrictions on food as a weight control measure have been identified as the three most important risk factors for childhood obesity by researchers at the University of Illinois.

Using data from a longitudinal study of 329 parent-child pairs, which began when the children were two years old, researchers examined 22 previously identified predictors of childhood obesity. They found three in particular were strong predictors, even after the other 19 were taken into account.

"What's exciting here is that these risk factors are malleable and provide a road map for developing interventions that can lead to a possible reduction in children's weight status,” researcher Brent McBride, professor of human development at the university, was quoted as saying. “We should focus on convincing parents to improve their own health status, to change the food environment of the home so that healthy foods are readily available and unhealthy foods are not, and to encourage an early bedtime.”

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