EMOTIONALLY AND FOR COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT WE KNOW ITS IMPORTANT FOR VERY YOUNG CHILDREN TO SPEND MORE RATHER THAN LESS TIME WITH THEIR PARENTS. NOW NEW RESEARCH IS POINTING TO AN IMPORTANT SOCIAL HEALTH REASON, THAT OF REDUCING OBESITY, FOR FINDING WAYS TO IMPROVE THE PARENT-CHILD BOND.
MUM-TODDLER RELATIONSHIP LEADS TO TEEN OBESITY
Ohio, USA, May 2012 - A poor maternal relationship leads to teen obesity, a new study shows.
While much attention has been paid to genetic factors as well as behavioural patterns that influence a child's propensity to become obese, new research points to the quality of the mother-toddler relationship as a potential dynamic.
Researchers at Ohio State University analysed national data detailing relationship characteristics between mothers and their children during their toddler years. The lower the quality of the relationship in terms of the child’s emotional security and the mother’s sensitivity, the higher the risk that a child would be obese at age 15 years, according to the analysis, which was published in the January 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics.
Among those toddlers who had the lowest-quality emotional relationships with their mothers, more than a quarter were obese as teens, compared to 13 percent of adolescents who had closer bonds with their mothers in their younger years.
The findings mirror previous research by these scientists that showed toddlers who did not have a secure emotional relationship with their parents were at increased risk for obesity by age 4 -1/2 years. This body of work suggests the areas of the brain that control emotions and stress responses, as well as appetite and energy balance, could be working together to influence the likelihood that a child will be obese.
Rather than blaming parents for childhood obesity, the researchers say these findings suggest that obesity prevention efforts should consider strategies to improve the mother-child bond and not focus exclusively on eating and exercise.
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