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Impoverished schools, parent education key factors in student weight
Date:2/1/2012

133 students in 132 schools.

Poor schools may influence overweight adolescents in several ways beyond providing the unhealthy food choices at cafeterias that are typically blamed for adolescents being overweight, said Martin.

According to Martin and Frisco, who worked with Claudia Nau, a graduate student in sociology, and Kristin Burnett, of the U.S. Census Bureau, poor schools may not have the resources to pay for athletic and fitness programs. Better-funded schools may offer food choices that are unhealthy, but they may also have the means to provide additional healthy food options, such as vegetarian dishes, while schools with limited resources may rely more on vending machine income.

Stress also may play a role in the weight gain of students at poor schools.

"Schools with limited financial resources tend to be more stressful environments," said Martin. "Stress promotes weight gains and usually the worst kinds of weight gains." Stress tends to promote excess weight gain in the midsection, which is associated with such health problems as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
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Contact: Matt Swayne
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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