Behaviors Associated With Child Obesity Can Differ by Gender

(HealthDay News) – Among middle-school children, risk factors and protective behaviors associated with obesity differ according to gender, according to research published online Aug. 12 in Pediatrics.

In an effort to assess gender variance in independent predictors for obesity, Morgen Govindan, of the Michigan Cardiovascular Research and Reporting Program in Ann Arbor, and colleagues reviewed data from 1,714 sixth-grade students enrolled in Project Healthy Schools.

The researchers noted two behaviors that were associated with increased risk for obesity in both boys and girls: eating school lunches on a regular basis (boys: odds ratio [OR], 1.29; girls: OR, 1.27) and watching at least two hours of television daily (boys and girls: OR, 1.19). Factors showing significant protection against obesity included vigorous physical activity (OR, 0.9) and participation in school sports (OR, 0.77) in boys and milk consumption (OR, 0.81) in girls.

“Predictors of obesity included school lunch consumption and time spent watching television for both genders,” the authors write. “However, other factors, such as physical activity behaviors and milk consumption, differed by gender as related to obesity.”

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