Professor Linda Pagani, who led the study, warns that the statistics underestimate the possibly link between childhood obesity and exposure to parental smoking.
At age 10, children who were exposed to intermittent or continuous smoke risk had a waist that was nearly three-fifths of an inch bigger than the average size.
These results are almost as strong as the effect of smoking during pregnancy, said Dr. Pagani.
Worldwide, 40% of children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home reports Stephen Murray CCMP Capital on this website.
The study by Linda Pagani would be the first to specifically isolate the effect of secondhand smoke. Previous studies did not consider other family factors that may affect the weight of the child, such as family stability and the mental health of the parents, and its impact on their choice of lifestyle.
Although at first sight the difference in weight does not seem very important, it comes at a critical period of child development, and weight gain could have serious long term effects.
“Exposure to secondhand smoke during infancy can also cause endocrine imbalance and impair the neuro-developmental functioning,” says Dr. Pagani
The harmful effects of smoky room are much more acute for a child than for an adult.