Stress forbundet med fedme i barndommen

Stress bidrager direkte til fedme blandt børn, ifølge en ny undersøgelse fra Iowa State University, der konkluderer at øget stress hos unge er forbundet med en større sandsynlighed for at de bliver overvægtige eller fede.

Man undersøgte 1.011 unge (i alderen 10-15) og deres mødre fra familier med lav indkomst boende i tre byer: Boston, Chicago og San Antonio. 47 procent af teenagere i stikprøven var overvægtige eller fede, men andelen steg til 56,2 procent blandt dem, der var påvirket af fire eller flere stressfaktorer.

“We found that an adolescent or youth who’s more stressed — caused by such things as having poor grades, mental health problems, more aggressive behavior, or doing more drugs and alcohol — is also more likely to be overweight or obese,” udtaler hovedforfatteren Brenda Lohman, professor ved human development and family studies (HDFS), Iowa State University.

Dataen er indsamlet fra tre by-undersøgelser
Undersøgelsen analyserer data fra “Welfare, Children and Families: A Three-City Study” – en seks-årig longitudinal undersøgelse. Forskerne målte højde og vægt på de unge for at bestemme deres body mass index, der senere blev brugt til at bestemme vægten status baseret på to udbredte klassifikationssystemer. Adolescent food insecurity status og individuelle, moderlige og familiemæssige stressfaktorer blev også fastsat gennem interviews.

De fem faktorer anvendt til at bestemme det individuelle stressor indeks for de unge var:

* Akademiske problemer

* Forbruget af narkotika og alkohol

* Depression eller niveauet for mental sundhed

* Udadreagerende eller aggressiv adfærd

* Mangel på fremtidsorientering

Forskerne skrev, at de unges forhold til stress og at blive overvægtig kan være et resultat af biologisk (perturbed hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal glands) samt adfærdsmæssige reaktioner på stress, såsom overspisning og manglende motion.

“It could possibly be that the obesity is leading to these stressors too,” Lohman said. “And so the work that we’re doing right now looks at which one of these is really coming first: the stressors or the obesity. We know that it is cyclical and that all of these factors just compound on each other.”

Undersøgelsen fandt også, at en mors stress niveau kombineret med fødevareusikkerhed (food insecurity) i husstanden – dvs. en situation, hvor en person ikke kan få adgang til fødevarer nok til at opretholde en aktiv, sund levevis – bidrager til et barns risiko for at blive overvægtig eller fed.

“In our past research, we did not find this association for older youth (ages 11-17), we only found it for young children (ages 3-10) who were in a house that had enough food or were food-secure,” skriver Lohman. “But it may be that the adolescents are more cognitively aware of what’s going on in the household and they take on their mothers’ stress as well. This may be exacerbated in houses where there’s not enough food.”

Mødre får al fokus
Selv om denne undersøgelse peger på mødrene, er fædre heller ikke immune over for deres børns vægtniveau.

“My own research focuses on fathers and shows that fathers, too, have an effect on children’s eating habits and obesity,” udtaler Susan Stewart, Associate Professor, Iowa State University, forfatter til bogen “,” som havde en anden undersøgelse udgivet af Journal of Adolescent Health sidste måned om nonresident fader involvering og unges spise mønstre.

“In our latest study, we found that kids who are involved with nonresident dads eat better — more vegetables, less fast food,” udtaler hun. “However, similar to the Lohman study, living with a single mom was associated with worse eating habits.”

Lohman siger at den nye forskning understreger behovet for sundhedspersonale til at tage en mere holistisk tilgang i deres behandling af overvægtige teenagere.

“We absolutely have to focus on their (teens) health, well-being, nutrition and exercise — and education of these things for them,” she said. “But we really need to also look holistically at their life and work towards reducing stress and rates of food insecurity for those adolescents as well.”

Artikel:
Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: Links to Food Insecurity and Individual, Maternal, and Family Stressors; Brenda J. Lohman, Susan Stewart, Craig Gundersen, Steven Garasky, Joey C. Eisenmann; Journal of Adolescent Health; (Online First, Corrected Proof, Available online 27 April 2009)

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