Author Affiliations: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health (Ms Murtagh); and Optimal Weight for Life Program, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital (Dr Ludwig), Boston, Massachusetts.
Many biological, psychosocial, and behavioral factors affect energy balance and, therefore, childhood weight gain, with parents playing an important mediating role. Ubiquitous junk food marketing, lack of opportunities for physically active recreation, and other aspects of modern society promote unhealthful lifestyles in children. Inadequate or unskilled parental supervision can leave children vulnerable to these obesigenic environmental influences. Emotional distress and depression, or other psychological problems arising from abuse and neglect, may exacerbate this situation by leading to disordered eating and withdrawal from sports and other social activities.
Murtagh L, Ludwig DS. State Intervention in Life-Threatening Childhood Obesity. JAMA. 2011;306(2):206-207. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.903