19 May 2017

And a spoon for Grandma

Doctors caught grandmothers in the detrimental effect on the health of their grandchildren

RIA News

Observations of families of internal migrants in large cities of China helped scientists confirm that grandmothers negatively affect the health of grandchildren and granddaughters, literally feeding them and forcing them to gain extra pounds, according to an article published in the journal PLoS One (Li et al., Differences in perceived causes of childhood obesity between migrant and local communities in China: A qualitative study).

"The fight against childhood obesity should include restrictions on the sale of food in the vicinity of schools, and measures to teach grandparents the basics of proper nutrition, and increase the level of physical activity of students during their stay at school. People migrating from other cities, in turn, need to be helped to play sports," said Bai Li from the University of Birmingham (UK).

According to WHO, about a third of the world's population today suffers from obesity, and in some countries, such as Great Britain and the Middle East countries, more than half of the population is overweight. According to current forecasts, the number of people on Earth with extra pounds by 2025 will reach 2.7 billion, with the proportion of people with extreme forms of obesity at that time reaching 17%, and the number of overweight people – about 46%. 

The number of overweight people is growing fastest in developing countries that have recently gained access to cheap and high-calorie food and do not yet have laws restricting its turnover. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Health of China, about 10% of men and 14% of women living in the country are obese, and among children this figure is close to 15%. This trend is especially strong in large megacities in the east of China.

Li and her colleagues decided to find out what can make residents of large Chinese megacities get fat faster than other citizens do. The researchers monitored the health of several thousand schoolchildren attending schools in Guangzhou in the south of the country.

Photo from the University of Birmingham press release
Migrant children less obese due to absent grandmothers - study – VM

Studying the prevalence of obesity among schoolchildren from families of different origins, wealth and education, scientists noticed an unusual thing – schoolchildren from migrant families who moved from the hinterland to Guangzhou with their parents were much less likely to suffer from obesity than their peers from among the indigenous residents of the city.

This unusual connection interested scientists, and they interviewed almost one and a half hundred parents, teachers and children themselves, what they eat, whether they consider obesity a vice and whether it is worth fighting it.

Such conversations revealed an unexpected "culprit" of all these problems – the main accomplices of childhood obesity were the grandparents of schoolchildren. As a rule, couples in large cities of China do not have time to raise children and they give them to the care of their parents.

Grandparents, in turn, are proud of their grandchildren and very often feed them because of the widespread There is no idea that being overweight is a sign of wealth and a happy life. Many parents told scientists that their children recovered during the holidays when they lived with their grandparents, and lost weight after returning to school.

"Urban" children, as researchers have found, are also getting fat because the curriculum in elite schools in China focuses on academic success and puts physical education and sports on the back burner. Schools for migrants, where the descendants of immigrants from the hinterland study, are designed for less in-depth training, and their students play sports more often and more, which can help them keep their weight normal.

All this, according to Li and her colleagues, should be taken into account when developing strategies that are being created now by the Chinese government to eliminate the obesity epidemic by 2030.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  19.05.2017

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