When Sizing Up Childhood Obesity Risks, It Helps To Ask About Random Kids

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girlhulaFrom Your Health Journal…..”A very good article on the NPR web site that I wanted to promote by Gillian K. SteelFisher entitled When Sizing Up Childhood Obesity Risks, It Helps To Ask About Random Kids. Please visit the NPR site to support Gillian’s article. Childhood obesity is on the rise in many areas of the world. Many would like to think it is starting to get under control, but even so, many children are in need of reducing their weight. Obesity related illnesses for young children is on the rise, as so many children show risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, cancer, and weak joints. In fact, many of these children are bullied at school as well as having low self esteem. Recently, a poll was taken with a random sample of children which looked at what children are actually doing in terms of eating, drinking and physical activity. Are they eating dinner with their families? And what’s on their plate (or TV screen or iPod) when they do? To learn more about this poll and its results, please visit the NPR web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”

From the article…..

To understand the challenges around childhood obesity in the U.S., you need to take a close look at the lives of children and the households in which their habits are formed.

NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, where I’m a researcher, created a unique poll to do that.

The poll looked at what children are actually doing in terms of eating, drinking and physical activity. Are they eating dinner with their families? And what’s on their plate (or TV screen or iPod) when they do?

One thing that makes this poll different from others is that it’s based on a random sample of children, even though adults in the households answered the questions. In order to be sure the findings are representative of children across the country, we needed this random sample of kids.

It’s an important distinction.

In a traditional poll, the research team telephones a random selection of households and asks to speak with a randomly selected adult in the household. Here, the team telephoned a random selection of households with children and asked to speak with an adult about a randomly selected kid in the household.

Another difference is that the polling team went beyond interviews with parents. In each case, we interviewed an adult in the household who actually knows what the child does and eats. Another caregiver — rather than a parent — might know that best. This approach allowed us to make sure that kids living in many kinds of households are included.

For most kids, the adult who knows what they eat and what they’re doing in terms of activities does turn out to be a parent. But for some kids, the adult who knows is a grandmother, a foster parent, an uncle or even an adult sibling. We call the respondents “parents” in our reports for simplicity, and we make a note about this in the complete description of our polling methods.

To read the full article…..Click here

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