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People who experience emotional distress as children are more likely to become obese adults, new research indicates.
A study published in the September 11 edition of BMC Medicine revealed the results of a British Birth Cohort Study which began in 1970, BBC news reports. The research measured the emotional attitudes, self-perceptions, body-mass indices (BMI), and height-to-weight ratios of 6,500 10-year-old participants, and reassessed their BMIs again when they hit 30-years-old.
Researchers from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Center at King's College London found that children who expressed lower self-esteem and reported high anxiety were more likely to gain weight over the next 20 years.
Lead researcher David Collier told the news source, "What's novel about this study is that obesity has been regarded as a medical metabolic disorder - what we've found is that emotional problems are a risk factor for obesity."
Healthcare officials hope this study clarifies that early intervention in children is necessary to combat adult obesity, and furthermore defines how parents, teachers and peers can be responsible for a single child's health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the prevalence of childhood obesity in 12-year-olds to 19-year-olds increased from 5 percent to 17.6 percent between 1976 and 2006.
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