Parenting styles and overweight status in first grade

Filed under: Just For Moms, Nutrition: Health, Development/Milestones: Babies

An article in the June issue of Pediatrics examined the relationship between the four parenting styles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful) and overweight status in first grade. Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were analyzed. Children with complete data for parenting parameters at 54 months and measured weight and height in first grade were included in the analysis. Overweight was defined as BMI of 95th percentile. Four parenting styles were determined with two scales, namely, maternal sensitivity and maternal expectations for child self-control. Regression analysis was used to evaluate the relationship between parenting style and overweight in first grade, controlling for gender, race, maternal education, income/needs ratio, marital status, and child behavior problems.

A total of 872 children, 11.1% overweight and 82.8% white, were included in the analysis. Children of authoritarian mothers (n = 298) had an increased risk of being overweight, compared with children of authoritative mothers (n = 179). Children of permissive (n = 132) and neglectful (n = 263) mothers were twice as likely to be overweight, compared with children of authoritative mothers. The authors concluded that among the four parenting styles, authoritarian parenting was associated with the highest risk of overweight among young children.

We often refer to authoritarian mothers as overbearing and controlling. These are the mothers who would be most apt to make certain that a child finishes everything on his or her plate when eating. Consequently, a child does not determine when he is full, but relies on what his mother tells him. Under these circumstances, it can be easily seen why a child may become overweight. What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.