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Children with a high BMI more likely to have pedestrian injuries

A study conducted at the University of Iowa has shown that overweight and obese children are at a greater risk for pedestrian injury. The researchers examined 206 children between the ages of 7 and 8 in a virtual environment. By studying the choices that these children make in traffic simulations they found that obese children were more impulsive and impatient than their peers. The children completed 30 virtual road crossings and were also asked to choose between different pedestrian routes. The researchers also found that girls are more cautious at road junctions than boys.

Elizabeth O’Neal, the lead author, explained that examining the risk of pedestrian injury represented a new avenue of research in childhood obesity and that it was not well developed. She went on to speculate that one of the reasons why these children are making riskier choices at road intersections was because obesity puts increased stress on the joints, and these children are merely trying to expedite the crossing to reduce this. The choices that these children make may however be more of a reflection of the increased impulsivity of obese people and show how obesity affects behaviours that can have large impacts on health.

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