Childhood obesity is a growing problem worldwide. Being overweight or obese during childhood is an important risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Researchers have suggested that young children in three to five age group with no access to green and open places are at a higher risk of developing obesity by the time they turn seven.
For the study, researchers analyzed 6,467 children from England. They found that no garden access for lower educated households (children age three-five years) increased the odds of obesity at seven years by 38%. They also observed a 38% increased risk of overweight/obesity at seven years for children of higher educated households living in disadvantaged neighborhood.
Annemarie Schalkwijk from VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, said, "We showed that limits on access to outdoor space is associated with future childhood overweight/obesity although moderated by education level. More research is needed to see how we can deploy these findings in preventing type 2 diabetes."
Health data was taken from surveys carried out at age nine months, three years, five years and seven years. After adjusting for parental influences and socioeconomic status (SES), the researchers found that no garden access for children increased the odds of overweight/obesity.
The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Stockholm.