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

Drug-food interactions in mountaineering

1 hour ago

According to a recent paper published by the researchers Aritz Urdampilleta-Otegui, PhD in Physical Education and Sports and lecturer in the Department of Physical and Sports Education of the UPV/EHU-University ...

Energy drinks cause insomnia and nervousness in athletes

3 hours ago

A study analysing the positive and negative effects of energy drinks on athletes has seen that, although in principle their sports performance was seen to improve by between 3% and 7%, there was also an increase ...

Young Aussie women now fatter but fitter

4 hours ago

Young Australian women are fatter, fitter and more frazzled today than they were nearly 20 years ago, according to Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health researchers.

User comments