Understanding causes of obesity in Aboriginal children

To fully understand the causes of the obesity epidemic in Aboriginal children requires an understanding of the unique social and historical factors that shape the Aboriginal community. A review article published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism emphasizes that early childhood obesity prevention efforts should begin focusing with the parents before and during pregnancy and on breastfeeding initiatives and nutrition in the early childhood development stages.

"There needs to be a focus on improving the risk factors such as income and education" says Noreen Willows, one of the authors of the study. "Additionally, there needs to be a focus on embracing the cultural practices in terms of language and pride in the Aboriginal culture to influence health behaviours and outcomes".

Numerous environments at different times of childhood drive the risk of : the in utero environment, which influences birth weight, growth patterns and disease risk; the , in which the child is raised and nurtured; and the larger surrounding environments encompassing policy, community, and cultural and societal factors.

There is no one fix to the in Aboriginal children. Strategies for weight management in this population need to focus at changing all influential factors at each level of the child's environment, and the members of the community need to have an active role in pursuing this goal.

More information: Willows, N.D, Hanley, A.J.G., Delormier, T. 2012. A socioecological framework to understand weight-related issues in Aboriginal children in Canada. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 37(1) 1-13. doi:10.1139/H11-128

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Childhood obesity link to parents

Jul 13, 2009

The relationships between children and their parent of the same gender in the earliest years of life could be the key to understanding why some young people become obese and others do not, new research conducted by the EarlyBird ...

Pediatricians confront the childhood obesity epidemic

May 01, 2011

Childhood obesity has become a significant health problem worldwide, but many parents don't know where to begin or how to help their child adopt a healthy lifestyle. At the opening session of the Pediatric Academic Societies ...

Social norms for obesity learned in childhood

Dec 19, 2011

Newcastle University research studying siblings has revealed that childhood experience and genes may set your weight rather than social networks later in life. 

Recommended for you

Smoking rates on the rise in New York City

5 hours ago

For the first time in years, more than 1 million New Yorkers are smoking, marking a disturbing rise of tobacco use in the city that pioneered a number of anti-smoking initiatives that were emulated nationally.

Web-based training can reduce campus rape

7 hours ago

Web-based training targeted at college-aged men is an effective tool for reducing the number of sexual assaults on U.S. campuses, according to a researcher in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

User comments