The Conservation 16 Dec 2011
In Australia, girls in single-parent families are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese than children in dual-parent families. This fits with recent research findings from the United States showing that children in single-parent households are at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese than those from households with two parents.
A staggering one-in-four children between the ages of five and 17 are overweight or obese. The sooner we understand the risk factors that make children vulnerable, the more traction we can gain to reduce this number.
Our research indicates that children in single-parent households eat fewer servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat more servings of food high in fat and sugar, and spend an extra two hours every week watching television, compared with children in dual-parent families.
The difference in servings per day is relatively small, about half a serve less of fruit and vegetables, and half a serve more of food high in fat and sugar, but clearly this, combined with increased sedentary behaviour, such as watching television, is having a cumulative effect.