Stressful Home Life Making Kids Fat?

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, In The News

stresed girlA Swedish study of more than 7,000 families found that kids with a highly stressful family life are twice as likely to be obese when compared with children living in low-stress environments.

The study followed kids from birth to age six, and during that period some parents reported "stressors" like serious illness or accidents, divorce, death, unemployment and exposure to violence. They also reported that parenting difficulties and spousal relationships added to the stress level at home, as well as a lack of social support and concerns about their children's development and health.

Those who reported at least two of these stressors were twice as likely to have obese children. Researches agree that stress is not the sole factor contributing to kids' weight problems, but that it appears to "interact with other factors to worsen the problem of childhood obesity."

Those who are under severe stress at home should seek support, they said, including professional help.

It doesn't surprise me one bit to hear that stress can make kids fat. Think about it -- when things slide off the tracks at home, what's the first thing to go? Structure. I know that when life gets topsy-turvy at my house, proper meals and bedtimes are usually the first casualty. Imagine if you were coping with some of the serious issues these poor parents were going through?

All the more reason to remember that everything we parents do can trickle down to the little ones. And all the more reason to ask for help when you need it.

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