alexa Peers and Obesity during Childhood and Adolescence: A Review of the Empirical Research on Peers, Eating, and Physical Activity | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2165-7904

Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy
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Review Article

Peers and Obesity during Childhood and Adolescence: A Review of the Empirical Research on Peers, Eating, and Physical Activity

Sarah-Jeanne Salvy1* and Julie C. Bowker2
1RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, USA
2Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA
Corresponding Author : Sarah-Jeanne Salvy, Ph.D
RAND Corporation, 1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA
Tel: (310) 393-0411 x6278
Fax: (310) 393-4818
E-mail: [email protected]
Received August 06, 2013; Accepted February 04, 2014; Published February 07, 2014
Citation: Salvy SJ, Bowker JC (2014) Peers and Obesity during Childhood and Adolescence: A Review of the Empirical Research on Peers, Eating, and Physical Activity. J Obes Weight Loss Ther 4:207. doi:10.4172/2165-7904.1000207
Copyright: © 2014 Salvy SJ, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Obesity during childhood and adolescence is a growing problem in the United States, Canada, and around the world that leads to significant physical, psychological, and social impairment. In recent years, empirical research on factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of obesity has begun to consider peer experiences, such as peer rejection, peer victimization, and friendship. Peer experiences have been theoretically and empirically related to the “Big Two” contributors to the obesity epidemic, eating and physical activity, but there has not been a comprehensive review of the extant empirical literature. In this article, we review and synthesize the emerging theoretical and empirical literatures on peer experiences in relation to: (a) eating (food consumption and food selection); and (b) physical activity, during childhood and adolescence. A number of limitations and issues in the theoretical and empirical literatures are also discussed, along with future research directions. In conclusion, we argue that the involvement of children and adolescents’ peer networks in prevention and intervention efforts may be critical for promoting and maintaining positive behavioral health trajectories.

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