According to the study, low-income people who are unfortunately facing food insecurity—the fact of not having enough food—are worried most of the time, and this can lead to obesity.
“Understanding the reasons why poverty puts families at greater risk of obesity is essential to addressing the epidemic,” Rachel Gross, lead author of the study from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, said.
Gross and her colleagues at the New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Centre, interviewed 201 low-income mothers with children not more than six months about their feeding styles, feeding practices and concerns about their child becoming overweight.
Studies have shown that feeding patterns leading to obesity often begin in infancy.
“We found that food insecurity is related to controlling feeding practices, which have been shown to increase child obesity.
“These controlling feeding practices involved both restriction, in which parents limit the infant’s intake even if the infant is hungry, and pressuring, in which the parent encourages the infant to eat more even if the infant is full,” Gross said.
“This work suggests that in addition to addressing hunger and malnutrition, it is critical that policy efforts be made to work with food-insecure families to prevent the opposite problem – obesity,” she added.
The study has been recently presented at the Paediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.