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Researchers have identified the three most significant risk factors for child obesity among preschoolers: inadequate sleep, a parental BMI that classifies the mom or dad as overweight or obese, and parental restriction of a child's eating in order to control his weight. 'We looked at 22 variables that had previously been identified as predictors of child obesity, and the three that emerged as strong predictors did so even as we took into account the influence of the other 19. Their strong showing gives us confidence that these are the most important risk factors to address,' Brent McBride from University of Illinois said.
The researcher said that these risk factors are malleable and provide a road map for developing interventions that can lead to a possible reduction in children's weight status. The researchers reached their conclusions after compiling the results from an extensive survey distributed to 329 parent-child dyads recruited from child-care programs in east-central Illinois as part of the U of I's STRONG (Synergistic Theory and Research on Obesity and Nutrition Group) Kids Program. The survey yielded wide-ranging information on demographics, health histories of both child and parent, and pertinent feeding practices. The study was published in the journal Childhood Obesity. (Read: Why is childhood obesity on the rise?)