Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, placing them at a higher risk for chronic disease. Nearly 75% of Canadian adults are trying to lose weight. Less than half will be successful. Following a strict diet is difficult: nearly half report indulging or breaking their diet over the weekend. These people may believe they can "make up" for their behaviours later. But whether people can make up for unhealthy behaviours with future healthy ones is unclear. However, nearly one-quarter of Canadian children are already overweight when they enter preschool. Thus, we need to better understand the factors which predate schooling. Important factors include the household's characteristics, such as household income. Other factors are more social, such as how a parent interacts with their child.
Previous research has focused on one or the other. But because they tend to occur together, it is difficult to know how much each one of them separately affects health. Large studies following the same children over time would give us a better idea of how these factors change health over time, but not many of these studies exist. Data for this research program are from ELDEQ (Étude Longitudinale du Développement des Enfants du Québec), a 16-year cohort that started in 1998 (n=2,120) and is representative of children born in Quebec. This program aims to improve what we know about household, social, and behavioural factors on children's' and adults' obesity risk. Results address an important literature gap and may provide insight into avenues for future prevention.