Obesity Risk Increases for Poor Children

Children who live in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to become obese than other children, according to a new study from the United Kingdom.

In the study, researchers examined the weight and height information of more than 20,000 children in the city of Plymouth, one of the poorest cities in the UK. Researchers found that 5 percent of the children were obese, compared with only 2 percent of all children in the UK. Increased economic deprivation led to an increased risk of obesity for both boys and girls as they got older, and the relationship between obesity and deprivation became even stronger with age for girls.

The rise in the number of obese children may be attributed to the unavailability of low-cost, healthy foods for economically disadvantaged families. Poor families tended to buy foods high in fat and sugar because they are cheaper than more nutritious foods. Children living in poor neighborhoods are also less likely to exercise regularly (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health)