Stuff co.nz 12 October 2015
Poverty has long been blamed for the rise in childhood obesity, but an Auckland University researcher rejects that debate.
Nichola Shackleton will present her new research during a talk at the university this afternoon, which has found that children’s weight does not fluctuate with parents’ incomes.
She said the rate of kids’ obesity was unchanged two years after either a rise or fall in their parents’ pay packets, using data from the United Kingdom’s Millennium Cohort Study, which followed 19,000 children born in 2000 or 2001.
“If income is not in fact the key driver of inequalities in child obesity, it may be wrongly influencing those in positions of power to make or support changes that are potentially ineffective in tackling child obesity.”
Instead, Shackleton found parental education might be a key driver in obesity.
“We need to look at changing families’ values and attitudes around food and healthy diets. Education and social class, those are the things that form your opinions and buying habits. If you gave me extra money, it doesn’t change who I am.”