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Dr. Hernandez's Research on Childhood Obesity Featured in Time Magazine.

HHP faculty Dr. Daphne Hernandez's research on the impact of stress factors at home on childhood obesity rates was recently featured by Time Magazine. The article titled "Unhappy Families Can Make Daughters Fat" was published in the April 2015 issue of the magazine. Dr. Hernandez's research was first published in the journal Preventive Medicine under the title "Gender disparities among the association between cumulative family-level stress & adolescent weight status".

Dr. Daphne Hernandez
Dr. Daphne Hernandez

The study looks at at three family stressors: family disruption and conflict, financial stress and maternal poor health. After analysing data from 4,762 adolescents between 1975-1990, the results showed clear gender differences. In adolescent girls, experiencing family disruption and financial stress repeatedly was linked to being overweight or obese by age 18. For adolescent boys, one stress point - poor maternal health was linked to obesity.

Below is a excerpt from the article:

Dr. Daphne Hernandez, assistant professor at the University of Houston, wants to figure out why despite our efforts, that rate hasn’t budged. “Many times when we’re designing interventions and prevention programs, they’re done in schools because that’s where we have ease of access to all these kiddos,” she says. “But the issue is that in those interventions, we don’t think about the family environment and what could be happening at home.”

“We really need to think about how we are teaching our adolescents how to deal with stress, and trying not to use food as a way to deal with stress,” Hernandez says. “Perhaps encouraging physical activity is the way we should be going.”

Read the entire article on the Time Magazine website