A Link Between Parenting Style and Childhood Obesity
According to HealthDay News a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics claims parenting-style affects children's likelihood to become overweight. Some researchers aren't surprised by the findings, Kathleen Doheny reports:
Authoritarian parenting was associated with the highest risk of overweight, the researchers found, with the risk five times higher. Children of permissive and neglectful mothers were twice as likely to be overweight as children of authoritative mothers, they also found.The more research I read, the more I wish every parent would listen to Dr. Fuhrman's podcast on getting children to eat well. The food thing just doesn't have to be a battle.
"We were sort of suspecting this would be the case," Dr. Kyung Rhee, a clinical instructor and research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine and the study's lead author said, "because authoritative parenting has been associated with better outcomes in academic achievement, better self-control, less depressive symptoms, less risk-taking as teens."
Why are the less-ideal parenting styles associated with the risk of overweight? "We haven't studied exactly the mechanism," Rhee said. She speculated, however, that parents with an authoritative style allow the child to develop "some of their own self-regulatory abilities." As an example, she said an authoritarian parent might tell his child that he needs to finish a vegetable every night, put it on his plate and say, "Eat it." But an authoritative parent might offer a couple of different vegetables and allow the child to choose.
"The authoritarian parents determine everything for the child," Rhee said. "[The children] may learn not to listen to their bodies about how full they are. They learn to listen to external cues, somebody else telling them, 'You need to finish your plate before you get up from the table.' Authoritative parents allow the child to push the boundaries a little while maintaining the boundaries."