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Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2008 Sep;58(3):256-64.

Mother's overweight, parents' constant limitation on the foods and frequent snack as risk factors for obesity among children in Brazil.

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  • 1Nutrition and Health Department, Federal University of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


The obesity is a chronic disease in which environmental factors can be involved in the etiology. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for obesity in children at Viçosa county, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Case-control study with 50 eutrophic and 50 obese children, paired according to gender, age and socioeconomic condition. This sample was selected based on nutritional evaluation of 2,074 children aged 6 to 8 years who were attending either private and public urban schools in Viçosa. Children's and parents' nutritional states were classified according to CDC (2000) and WHO (1998), respectively. Based on questionnaire application, the following data were collected: family structure, socioeconomic level, obesity presence and dyslipidemia in close family relatives, breast feeding, birth weight, child's gestation conditions, feeding habits and the lifestyles of both children and parents. According to the multiple logistic regression analysis, the risk factors to childhood obesity were: the mother's overweight (BMI 25 Kg/m2; OR: 70.49; IC: 2.17-182.74), the parents' constant limitation on the foods consumed by the child (OR: 62.91; IC: 5.37-92.08) and frequent snack the child uses to consume in commercial establishments (OR: 10.44; IC: 1.30-83.92), which are mostly represented by highly energetic foods, such as fried salty foods and soft drinks (78.6%). The success of the childhood obesity treatment in this population includes the parents' decreased overweight, mainly the mother's, and their consciousness of the adequate feeding habit, because family's undesirable practices contribute to the permanence of obesity in childhood, such as constant limitation of ingested foods and frequent snacks in commercial establishments.

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