Scientists in Australia have recently released a report linking childhood obesity to social and economic disadvantage. The study measured 4949 children’s height and weight every 2 years, between the age of 4-5 and 10.
“Overall, the study found that at four years old 80 per cent of children were of normal weight, 15 per cent were overweight and 5 per cent were obese.
By age 10, 74 per cent of children were of normal weight, 20 per cent were overweight and 6 per cent were obese.
Researchers identified a strong link between obesity and disadvantage after dividing children into five socioeconomic groups based on their parents' income, occupation and education.
They found that 11.5 per cent of children in the most disadvantaged group were persistently obese throughout childhood, compared with 3.4 per cent of children in the most advantaged group.”
I’m no scientist or statistician, and I understand the problems using BMI to measure ‘unhealthiness’, but I do head to the supermarket on a weekly basis, so I can’t say I find the results terribly surprising.
To me, this kind of study really encapsulates the problem with fast food – and I don’t think its one of agency, but circumstance. It ties back to a conversation I had a few days ago, where it was discussed that fast food companies and the like should be treated in the same way that smoking corporations have been. While it admittedly took me a while to get my head around, in that we HAVE to eat, and we don’t have to smoke, I think it’s a valuable way to think about the issue.