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Children in low-income districts more often overweight, study says.

Ottawa -- The relationship between social-economic status and obesity have been documented. Now a study published recently in the Canadian Journal of Public Health puts it in a neighborhood context. Children living in lower income neighbourhoods are more often overweight or obese. This study is one of the first to examine the influence of neighbourhoods on a child's weight.

One of the findings was that parents living in low income neighbourhoods were three times more likely than other parents to state that their neighbourhood parks were unsafe, suggesting that children in lower socio-economic neighbourhoods have fewer opportunities to be physically active.

The study looked at the body mass index of 5 to 17 year-old children and the neighbourhoods in which they lived. The index is a measurement of obesity based on the relationship between a person's weight and height.

Children are at a greater risk of being overweight or obese, if they live in neighbourhoods with

* higher unemployment rates,

* lower average family incomes,

* fewer neighbours with post-secondary education.

The percentage of over-weight children ranged from 24% in areas with high socioeconomic status to 35% in low income neighbourhoods.

The article reports that fewer children in low socio-economic neighbourhoods tended to participate in organized physical activities than children in higher socio-economic neighbourhoods.

The analysis was conducted in the British Columbia Inter-university Research Data Centre at the Univorsity of British Columbia and was based on 2000/01 National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth and 2001 Census profile.

"Neighbourhood socio-economic status and the prevalence of overweight Canadian children and youth" is in the November-December 2005 issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

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Title Annotation:CHILD & FAMILY
Publication:Community Action
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 21, 2005
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Next Article:New Brunswick study questions social assistance reforms.

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