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Obesity on rise in suburbs

Obesity among children in Iceland is highest in Reykjavík’s Breidholt neighborhood, according to a recent study undertaken by Ragnheidur Ósk Erlendsdóttir, a nurse at Reykjavík Health Service.

The results are based on 16,000 measurements of children’s weight carried out in the capital area in the last two years.

One third of children aged six to 14 in upper Breidholt are overweight. The rates are highest in elementary schools Fellaskóli and Breidholtsskóli. Elementary schools in the Hlídar neighborhood have the lowest rate of obese children, 17 percent. Fréttabladid reports.

Erlendsdóttir concluded that there is a possible correlation between child obesity in Iceland and the education level of their parents, in consideration of statistics from previous studies.

In neighborhoods with high levels of obesity among children, the parents tend to have a lower level of education. This conclusion supports the results of previous studies.

According to a study undertaken by the University of Iceland’s Department of Social Sciences in 2002, only 11 to 22 percent of parents in schools where obesity levels are high have a university degree, while 30 to 34 percent of parents in schools where obesity levels are low have higher education.

Erlendsdóttir’s study’s results mirrored studies on obese children and the social position of their parents in the United States.

In other countries, such as Russia and China, children of parents with higher education are rather overweight than in neighborhoods where educational levels among parents are lower.

Rates of childhood obesity are lower in Iceland than in other European countries, with 21 percent of children being overweight compared to 24 and 27 percent in England and Italy, respectively.

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