From Science Daily:

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers have found that increases in unemployment in California during the Great Recession were associated with an increased risk for weight gain among the state’s 1.7 million public school students, suggesting that economic troubles could have long-term health consequences for children.

The researchers, publishing online June 1 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, say that for every one percentage point increase in county-level unemployment between the years of 2008 and 2012, the school children had a four percent increased risk of becoming overweight. The average change in unemployment over the time period was 5.4 percentage points, putting the increased risk that a child would become overweight at 21 percent.

Prior research has shown that even small changes in weight – between five and 10 percent – in children and adolescents can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases in the future.

“This study tells a dramatic story about the negative and lasting health effects of an economic shock like the Great Recession, effects that have not been fully understood,” says study leader Vanessa M. Oddo, MPH, a PhD candidate in human nutrition at the Bloomberg School. “Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health concerns of our time. And since it’s not easy to lose weight once it is gained, this period of economic hardship could have consequences that last long into adulthood.”

For the study, Oddo and her colleagues analyzed data from the California Department of Education, which collected…

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