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Poverty Affects Childhood Obesity

A recent health study found that poverty may be an important determinant of a child’s weight at an early age.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY), the study examined the impact of neighbourhood environment on the body mass index of children from early childhood to adolescence, while controlling for family factors. It assessed a group of up to 2,200 children at two-year intervals between 1994 and 2002.

The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased dramatically over the last three decades in most developed nations. In Canada, the prevalence of being overweight among children aged 6 to 11 has doubled from 13% in 1977/1978 to 26% in 2004.

Health Canada’s Family Guide to Physical Activity for children lays out two goals:

  • Increase the time currently spent on physical activity by a total of at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Reduce “non-active” time spent on TV, video, computer games and surfing the internet, starting with at least 30 minutes less per day.

Resources to get your kids active!

Be Fit for Life Network

Get Active Campaign

Canada Family Guide to Physical Activity for Children

Sources: Statistics Canada Daily Feb 28 2008

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