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Increased risk of future obesity in children with chronic stress

Stress in Childhood Results in Obesity

In industrialized nations, the greater the ongoing stress that children are exposed; the more likely to be obese when they are in adolescence. This is indicated by the results of a new study. It was found that children of nine years of age who were chronically exposed to stressors such as poverty, overcrowded housing and family disputes, earned more kilos and had a significantly higher weight at the age of 13 who which were not exposed to these factors.


The reason, the authors believe the research is that the ongoing stress that children make them harder to control their behavior and emotions. This decline in self, in turn, can lead to inappropriate eating behaviors and obesity in adolescence.

The team of psychologist Gary Evans of Cornell University in the United States, measured height and weight from 244 children 9 years of age in rural upstate New York and evaluated their different physical stressors and psychosocial, for example, exposure to violence, living in a home that did not meet the habitability requirements or lack of access to resources such as books.

The researchers measured height and weight of children again four years later, proving that, compared with children like themselves in age and other parameters but these overwhelming problems described generally had gained much more.

Since previous studies had suggested that, in industrialized nations, chronic stress is associated with weight gain in children and adolescents, and is also known that children in these countries (and often adults) tend to eat more sweets and high fat foods when stressed.

Furthermore, on the other hand there is evidence that some parts of the brain that are sensitive and vulnerable to stress, especially at early ages, are the same parties involved in behaviors that often influence eating behavior.

The investigation was also worked by Thomas Fuller-Rowell (now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Stacey Doan (now at Boston University).

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