A major new study of middle childhood

The many factors that influence the living habits of children between the ages of eight and 14 are to be explored in a new study. One of the participants is the University of Gothenburg and a number of areas have been identified as contributors to the behaviours of children.

It was noted that this age can be both exciting and demanding for young people, with them enjoying greater independence and less parental control.

Entitled I.Family, the research will look at a child's eating habits, their physical activity levels, immediate environment, family, school, tastes and genetic markers.

It is hoped that the investigation will lead to more advice and recommendations being developed that can be used by decision makers to help families encourage healthier lifestyles.

Gabriele Eiben, Researcher at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy, noted group pressure, schools and marketing - through television, music and mobile phones - can all impact a child's living habits.

Dr Gordon Milson, a Chartered Psychologist, comments:

"It is welcoming to see a study considering the systemic factors which impact on young people's development. Whilst previous theories of adolesence concentrating on the premise that it's a time of 'Storm und Strang' for all young people have been minimised, there is recognition that the social, emotional, relational, psychological and biological growth which young people from the ages of 8-14 experience is significant in their progression into early adulthood and possibly beyond.  

"Developing a greater understanding of the interaction between the factors involved in a young person's life and the impact which they can have on that young person and their idiosyncratic expression can only assist in helping families and young people engage in positive living in the future."