Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Overweight Children More Prone to Stress

Overweight children may be more stressed than those of normal weight, a report suggests today. Among 1,136 kids and teens ages 8-17 surveyed online in August, those of above-normal weight reported more health problems in the previous month.

Such problems, experts say, signal stress. Among them:

•Sleep problems, 48% (compared with 33% of normal-weight kids).

•Headaches, 43% (vs. 28%).

•Anger and fighting, 22% (vs. 13%).

"There are some good data out there that show connections between stress and being overweight," says Kathryn Henderson, a clinical psychologist at the non-profit Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, which helped develop the weight-related survey section.

Compared with normal-weight kids, overweight children were more likely to report eating when stressed (27% vs. 14%) or taking a nap (26% vs. 15%). Kids and teens of normal weight who are stressed report more healthy activities, such as playing sports (21%, vs. 13% for overweight kids).

Henderson says all kids are fairly likely to cope by doing sedentary behaviors, "and in particular screen time. It might just be the go-to activity."

Calorie burning activity appears to be good for everybody, every day.

Overweight children show more signs of stress
By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY Publication: Date: Nov 8, 2010

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