Lack of Easy Access to Food during Childhood Linked to Obesity – Study

Lack of Easy Access to Food during Childhood Linked to Obesity – Study

According to a study from 2017, kids between the age of 8 and 10 that come from households without easy access to healthy food are no less than 5 times more likely to become obese than those who have enough food.

The research that looked at 50 mothers and at their kids, learned that those from families where food was not easily accessible, ended up eating when they were not hungry and were also more likely to consume 5 or more snacks every day.

This is actually part of a theory known as the “insurance hypothesis” that says people without constant access to sustenance tend to eat more in order to store energy and avoid hunger later on when food is scarce once more.

However, a newer study that featured 394 adults from the U.K. learned that there is no difference in the energy intake of food secure and food insecure people.

Instead, the team learned that those without constant access to food consume diets lower in protein and fiber and higher in carbs when compared to the other group.

Furthermore, the time gaps between meals were also more inconsistent amongst food insecure people, most likely because of financial reasons eating meals whenever they are available rather than at equal intervals.

And sure enough, skipping meals and eating diets high in calorie and unhealthy nutrients such as fats and sugar have been linked to obesity.

A childhood of poverty can also cause an emotional toll that can lead to obesity as well.

The 2018 study found that the inability to access nutritious food during childhood because of the family’s low income, in addition to the stress caused by the said low income, cause a negative psychological and emotional environment for the kids.

This lack of harmony can disrupt homeostasis, which is the body’s ability to maintain and monitor its internal state, something that can cause obesity over time.

More precisely, this involves emotional eating as people in this situation tend to cope with stress by binge eating.

Higher levels of stress cause the deregulation of peptides and hormones like cortisol, ghrelin and insulin.

Higher levels of these peptides and hormones are linked to an increased appetite for high calorie food.

And because they are still developing certain habits, children are especially affected by this, the effects lasting well into adulthood.

Parts of the brain responsible for the development of memory and long-lasting habits will experience changes because of such early negative emotions.

If kids consume comfort food just to reduce stress and not out of hunger and it becomes a habit, they will likely have the same response to adulthood stress.

All in all, it appears that emotional eating can therefore cause obesity over time.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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