The Relationships Between Unhealthy Eating Habits And Children's Health Problems

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The Relationships between Unhealthy Eating Habits and Children's Health Problems


Currently, the prevalence of childhood overweight is high and has increased dramatically since the 1970s. This increased prevalence is of concern because overweight children are at increased risk for social stigmatization, adult obesity, and chronic disease. Obesity shows familial aggregation; the risk of obesity among children of two obese parents is much higher than for children in families in which neither parent is obese. Familial aggregation has focused research attention on genetic factors in obesity, but the rapid secular increase in the prevalence of obesity cannot be attributable to genetic factors. The interaction of genes and environment influences phenotypes for intake and expenditure and suggests that a renewed focus on the family environment may provide information about behavioral factors that contribute to familial aggregation of adiposity. This paper researches and analyzes the relationships between unhealthy eating habits and children's health problems in America.


Most experts would agree that obesity results when susceptible individuals are placed in adverse environments. To date, there have been few prospective studies of childhood obesity, and these have not tended to focus on the role of environmental factors and how they interact with genetic predispositions that affect intake and expenditure. There is extensive evidence that children's food intake is shaped by early experience with food and eating, and these findings suggest ways in which parenting practices and the family environment may be promoting obesity.

Relationships between Unhealthy Eating Habits and Children's Health Problems

Children's eating is modified by exposure and accessibility of foods; by modeling behavior of peers, siblings, and parents; by the physiologic consequences of ingestion; and by child-feeding practices. In particular, children's liking for and consumption of foods high in energy, sugar, and fat may be enhanced by environments where those foods are present, consumed by peers or family members, and made unavailable periodically. Parental directives intended to encourage or restrict children's consumption of various foods may have adverse consequences for the development of children's food preferences and regulation of energy intake. These parental directives may even be linked to subsequent development of dieting. In particular, directives in child-feeding may discourage children's choices and focus children's attention cues other than feelings of hunger and satiety. Because parents tend to encourage children's consumption of fruits and vegetables and to limit foods high in energy, sugar, and fat, directive styles of child-feeding may negatively affect children's liking of these foods ...
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