• Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences
Commentary

Intergenerational Obesity: Contemporary Research for Informed Nutritional Counselling

Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences [2021; 3(1): 1-6]
Received: 19 April 2021, Accepted: 04 February 2021, Published: 10 February 2021

The stories, skills, morals, and ideas that are passed on to children will impact them for the rest of their lives. As one looks to the future to support the next generation, it is imperative to understand the issues and hurdles that they will have to overcome, particularly in health and wellness. One such issue is the rising trend in the prevalence of obesity in childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. In a 2016 data brief, the CDC noted that the prevalence of obesity among 12-19 year-old Americans was 21%, with the average weight of children in this age range continuing to steadily increase [1]. Obesity also tends to be familial. According to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, American children with one obese parent have a 50% likelihood of becoming obese, while this increases dramatically in children with two obese parents to an 80% likelihood of becoming obese [2]. This poses a health risk to the child, as prospective cohort studies have identified an association between obesity and dyslipidemia, cancers of the colon, kidneys, endometrium, gallbladder, and pancreas, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, depression, chronic joint pain, and decreased life expectancy [3]. Fortunately, childhood obesity is preventable, and strategic steps can be taken by dieticians and other healthcare practitioners to ensure that clients are provided with the information and tools to promote and maintain a healthy weight. In order to gain a clearer picture of the multifactorial issue of intergenerational obesity and means to break this cycle, it is first necessary to understand the obesogenic influences that will affect the client’s child. Previous research has addressed these influences individually, but healthcare practitioners may benefit from a more summative review of the factors contributing to intergenerational obesity. The factors explored in this review include genetics, upbringing, culture, and socioeconomics.

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