In a vicious cycle that often leads to heart disease and diabetes, overweight adults beget obese children.
Research blaming TV and Twinkies has grabbed the media coverage and worked its way into the collective conscious, but Exercise and Nutritional Sciences Professor Simon Marshall looks for deeper roots.
For more than 10 years, Marshall has been collecting data about the decisions made by children, parents and schools about diet and activity. He works directly with young people to find out whether vending machines and Nintendo or parental example and socioeconomic factors are at fault for poor diet and sedentary behavior.
He has found that the stresses of modern life – unsafe neighborhoods, rigorous academic standards and a schedule packed with extracurriculars – leave little room for the active behaviors that kept previous generations slim.
“We can all get involved in land use and urban planning decisions that impact our children’s ability to walk, bike, or skate to school along safe routes.”
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