Research sheds new light on obesity

15 February 2013

New research suggests middle class children are more likely to be obese than those from poor families, turning on its head the idea that obesity is tied to social deprivation.

A study from Leeds Metropolitan University found childhood obesity was not more prevalent among more 'deprived' children.

Charting youngsters' obesity levels and where they lived, researchers found that those in 'middle-affluent' areas of Leeds were more likely to be very overweight than those in very poor or very wealthy postcode areas, with the trend particularly high among girls.

Dr Claire Griffiths, who led the study, said it indicated that children living in the most deprived and most affluent areas of the city are at the lowest risk, with boys and girls following different patterns.

"These results could help make informed decisions at the local level including the allocation of health promotion resources," Dr Griffiths said.

"This is especially important now in the light of the recently enhanced role for local governments and authorities with an increased focus on locally-led action in the UK to tackle childhood obesity."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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