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Contributing Factors

"Screen time"

For each hour per day of TV viewing, the prevalence of obesity increases by 2% (Dietz, 1985)


Children who are sedentary are more likely to be overweight than children who exercise on a regular basis (Singh, 2008).


Native Americans, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics are more likely to be obese than Caucasians (Anderson, 2009)

Food choices

  • Sugary beverages
  • Fast food
  • Lack of fruits and vegetables and increased intake of simple sugars and foods high in fats
  • Overeating - more calories taken in than expended
    • Large portion size
    • Seconds and thirds
    • Eating at night
    • Eating while watching TV or doing homework
    • Eating while riding in the car
    • Frequent snacking

Parental factors

Photo of an overweight mother and daughter

  • Parental obesity
    • increases the risk of obesity in the child 2 - 3 fold
  • Parenting styles:
    • Overly restrictive parenting may cause the child to be less adept at self-regulating his or her eating behaviors. Parents should encourage the child to recognize when he or she has reached satiety
  • Single parent homes:
    • Children in single parent homes may have an increased incidence of obesity but this may be confounded by other factors (Gibson, 2007)
  • Parental recognition:
    • Few parents recognize the child's true weight status (Rhee, 2005, Parry, 2008)
    • Parents are more likely to make changes impacting their child's weight status when:
      • The child is older (8-12 years)
      • The parent is overweight and recognizes they are overweight (and this is seen as a problem)
      • The child's weight is recognized as a health problem