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Looking at aspects of family dynamics that contribute to childhood obesity

02 October 2023
Volume 4 · Issue 5


Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels over the past 30 years and has become a global issue. As obesity can lead to multiple comorbidities, it is essential to gain a good understanding of possible contributing factors to help address it. This article looks at variables in family dynamics that are associated with childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity has become a pandemic. In 1975, the number of obese children, ages 7–19 years, was about 11 million, worldwide (Abarca-Gomez et al, 2017). In 2016, obesity in children, ages 5–19 years, increased to about 124 million, with an additional 213 million children being overweight (World Health Organization, 2021; Statistics – Childhood Obesity Foundation, 2019). In 2019–2020 it was estimated that 150 million children worldwide are obese, with 39 million being under the age of 5 years (World Health Organization, 2021; Childhood Obesity Foundation, 2019). Research shows that obesity can lead to multiple comorbidities and a shorter lifespan (Henderson, 2021). Studies have also documented ways in which parents (or families) can access free interventions to combat childhood obesity, yet the epidemic has shown little signs of decline in those with obesity (Henderson, 2021). Identifying the contributing factors to obesity may be key to creating an effective treatment plan and help address this issue. A more recent area of study in childhood obesity focuses on family dynamics, including family structure, family environment, and family functioning. How do these family dynamics contribute to, or affect childhood obesity?

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