The conclusion drawn by pediatrician Julie C. Lumeng in this article is that parents’ safety concerns lead to kids being cooped up indoors where the opportunity for exercise is limited and food is easily accessible. While the study apparently shows a correlation between parental fears and overweight children, correlation does not equal causation. I would hazard a guess that parents who live in neighborhoods that create fear live there because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. Such families may not be able to afford nutritious food, may lack the education to understand the benefit of a balanced diet, or may be working single parents and simply unable to manage their children’s eating habits.

Skip Simonds
Saugus, Calif.

In this study, fear of crime correlated with weight, even taking into account family income .—J. Raloff

From the Nature Index

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