Lack of School Safety a Contributing Factor to Childhood Obesity

According to a recent study, a lack of school safety and feeling safe at school is a contributing factor to childhood obesity. The study was conducted by the University of Montreal and its affiliated Research Centre at CHU Sainte Justine children’s hospital with data provided by 1,234 youths who had just entered high school. According to Dr. Tracie Barnett, senior author of the study, “Childhood obesity is caused and sustained by a complex range of factors. Our research reveals a complex intertwining of feelings of being unsafe with obesity.”

The findings of this study underscore the need to address multiple environmental factors in order to fight childhood obesity. Barnett added, “Increasing youths’ feelings of safety at school is one potential intervention amongst many that could buffer the relationship between safety and being overweight.”

In addition to targeting actual school violence, a youth’s perception of safety at school might be increased by improving the neighborhood environment, his or her relationship with teachers and by encouraging a climate of respect and appreciation in the school as a whole.

Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend, agrees with the studies recommendations, adding, “To ensure a safe environment at school, the total picture must be addressed. Keeping children safe does not end when they head home at the end of the school day. Relationships and external environments are also important factors to consider.”

Read more about the study here.