The global epidemic of childhood obesity observed since the 1980’s is widely attributed to dramatic changes in diets and lifestyles. However, there are many gaps in current knowledge of how different environmental factors interact to promote weight gain, and how to implement effective obesity prevention programs.
Our long term vision is to develop an evidence base that can be used to intervene and normalize children’s body weights. The studies within this research program will represent an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers from the University of Gothenburg in fields of public health, nutrition, pediatrics, medicine and statistics.
‘Tweens’ boys and girls aged 10 to 12 - no longer ‘kids’ but not yet teenagers - face many challenges during this transition time. Increasing independence and exposure to behaviors outside family control, approaching puberty and changing educational demands make this an exciting yet demanding time, not only for the ‘Tweens’ themselves but also for their families.
During this transition time there is potential for established healthy lifestyle and dietary habits to be set aside and to be overtaken by habits that may limit healthy life expectancy.
Changes in these habits may be driven by peer pressure, exposure to issues and information in school, or by marketing via TV, mobiles, and internet for a myraid of products including food, music and products of interest to this age group.