Exposure to violence linked to obesity
In a study from Duke University, it was found that teens that were exposed to violence consumed more unhealthy food and beverages and suffered from fatigue. The researchers used data from mobile phone applications for over 500 teens in California and North Carolina. The groups carried out initial assessments and baseline measurements were taken; follow up was completed 18 months later. The teenagers were then given an application on their phones which created a survey for them to fill out, they reported on their exposure to violence, their diet, physical activity and their hours of sleep. ‘Exposure to violence’ was defined as physical fighting at home, school, in their neighbourhoods or elsewhere.
The group from California reported unhealthier diets on the days that they were exposed to violence, and fatigue for the day after (attributed to poor sleep quantity and quality). The North Carolina group also reported the fatigue, but no change in diet. However, both groups reported an increase in physical activity on the days that they were exposed to violence; this data was logged using wearable devices. As adolescence is a key period for the development of eating habits and many other behaviours, the researchers are hoping to continue their research in order to examine the full mechanism behind this effect as well as to address the high levels of obesity amongst this age group.