Family and behavioral factors associated with obesity in school-age children

Lia Otiashvili


Introduction. Obesity represents the widespread metabolic disease, which is considered to be the global health problem by World Health Organization. The prevalence of  overweight/ obesity in the population of children aged from 2 to 19 years has been steadily growing for the last three decades (16, 18). To date, obesity is deemed to be the key factor for deterioration   in the quality of life in adults as well as children and adolescents. According to the most recent data, the prevalence of overweight/ obesity in children aged 6-11 years amounts to 7-13%, and at the age of 12-19 it makes up 5-14% (2). Based on the data of WHO overweight and obesity are detected in 41 million children under the age of 5, and this figure reaches  43 million in children aged from 5 to 19 years (25).  

The prevention of obesity in children represents the priority objective of public health, since the disease is associated with the prolonged and pernicious complications of health even in adulthood (5, 15, 21).

Obesity is a chronic multi-factorial disease developed by the unified effect of physiological, genetic and environmental factors of broad range. The risk factors comprises the eating disorders, reduction of physical activity, psycho-emotional stress,  bad habits, genetic predisposition, endocrine disorders, etc. Obesity is based on the energy misbalance as well as the discrepancy between  calorie intake and energy expenditure.  Energy misbalance, in its turn, results from the inadequate interaction between genetic and environmental factors (social, nutritive, psychological and physical) (6, 26)    

        According to scientific researches, the interrelation existing between a child’s and parents’ body mass index (BMA) is apparent (10, 14). The children, whose parental body mass index ranges within the norm, maintain a healthy lifestyle,  regular physical activities and balanced diet (7,26). The high level of parental body mass index is related to the elevation of children’s BMA, hypodynamia, excessive high-fat food intake,  media volume and wrong  routine, which represent the predictors for obesity (19, 22). The findings of conducted studies are in accord with the standpoint, that parents’  BMA reflects their attitude towards health  and has the considerable impact on their behavioral habits and weight status (23). The multigenerational family studies conducted on twins, siblings and adopted children demonstrated the impact of parental overweight on the formation of obesity in their offspring and held the viewpoint that the combination of genetic and behavioral factors determines the analogous predisposition to obesity in children and parents

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ISSN: 2346-8491 (online)