June 17, 2019
Post code match in fat epidemic
A new study has found socioeconomic conditions are a major driver of unequal obesity rates among Maori, Pacific and European children.
Researchers from the A Better Start E Tipu e Rea National Science Challenge cross matched data collected from four-year olds through the B4 School Check with other data about the children’s parents, family, neighbourhood and region.
They found the difference in numbers of four-year-old children affected by obesity between Maori and European would halve if Maori children experienced the same family and neighbourhood conditions as Europeans.
Overall, 15.2 per cent of the children in the study were affected by obesity, including 11 per cent of European, 20 per cent of Maori, and 33 per cent of Pacific children.
Senior author and A Better Start director Professor Wayne Cutfield from the Liggins Institute says the findings suggest tackling socio-economic disadvantage could significantly reduce disparities in obesity rates, as well as disparities for many related health issues.
It also points to the need to move beyond individualistic framing of obesity and take a more holistic view.
The study was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Obesity.
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