Socioeconomic status, infant feeding practices and early childhood obesity
Gibbs and Forste (2014) analyze correlations between obesity onset in children, their families’ economic status and mothers’ feeding practices. The authors note that “children from with low socioeconomic households” may be exposed to early obesity development (Gibbs & Forste, 2014, p. 135). They state that in order to treat patients for obesity, it is necessary to understand feeding practices of mothers to establish a link between their views on breastfeeding, eating habits, and children’s weight. The connection between one’s economic status and health is also addressed as a way to confirm that obesity is prevalent in people with a smaller income. The authors collect information using the “Early Childhood Longitudinal Study… [from] the National Center for Education Statistics” (Gibbs & Forste, 2014, pp. 2-3). They use data from 8030 reports from mothers about their children. Then, Gibbs and Forste (2014) analyze such factors as children’s BMI, families’ socioeconomic status, mothers’ BMI and health-related characteristics, and their infant feeding practices.
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In this article, the scholars find that breastfeeding supports children’s natural growth, while formula can negatively affect infants’ weight, often leading to obesity. Other practices that are often present in families with low income are also linked by the authors to weight gain. While these findings are highly valuable because they show a correlation between one’s feeding practices and weight, the study has some limitations. The scholars note that mother-reported data used as the primary source of information should be interpreted with caution. Furthermore, the study considers only two types of liquids that infants consumed (breast milk and formula), failing to account for other possible drinks and foods. Nonetheless, this research shows that one’s socioeconomic status can affect childhood obesity prevalence.
The relationship between childhood obesity, low socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity: Lessons from Massachusetts
Rogers et al. (2015) examine the connection between obesity in children, race, and socioeconomic status in one US state – Massachusetts. The authors’ main concern is that previous studies failed to address people’s income and living conditions while linking obesity to race exclusively. Rogers et al. (2015) assess the reliability of such claims and the dependence of weight gain related factors and children’s ethnicity. The study uses school-processed data collected from more than 111,000 young students (Rogers et al., 2015). The authors aim to establish connections between children’s race, weight, and family income status.
The scope of the work is substantial, providing state-wide results from thousands of young students. The authors establish a high correlation between low income and children being overweight or obese while finding no significant link between student’s weight and race (Rogers et al., 2015). For example, the relationship between one’s family income and their health is evident as “for every 1% increase in low-income, there was a 1.17% increase in overweight/obese status” (Rogers et al., 2015, p. 691). Thus, the study disproves previous researches and shows how a failure to include socioeconomic data can lead to the misinterpretation of results.
This data supports the conclusions made in this article in regards to addressing socioeconomic status as one of the main concerns in managing obesity. However, the study has limitations because the students’ family income information was not gathered from each person’s file but state-reported data. It was displayed as a set of estimates from communities. Nonetheless, findings show that race and economic status are two different characteristics that should not be intermixed but presented as separate entities to reveal the causes of childhood obesity.
Gibbs, B. G., & Forste, R. (2014). Socioeconomic status, infant feeding practices and early childhood obesity. Pediatric Obesity, 9(2), 135-146. Web.
Rogers, R., Eagle, T. F., Sheetz, A., Woodward, A., Leibowitz, R., Song, M.,… Eagle, K. A. (2015). The relationship between childhood obesity, low socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity: Lessons from Massachusetts. Childhood Obesity, 11(6), 691-695. Web.
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