ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Children of parents who are overly controlling and don’t communicate well are more likely to be obese, reports Live Science.
Researchers used data from surveys that measure the BMI of kids ages 11 and under in Canada gathered from 1994 to 2008.
Then they categorized 4 parenting styles: authoritative (parents are demanding but also listen to their kids’ needs), authoritarian (demanding, but parents aren’t responsive to their kids), permissive (responsive but not demanding) and negligent (neither responsive nor demanding).
The kids with authoritarian parents had the greatest risk of being obese, according to the study.
Children ages 2 to 5 were 30 percent more likely to be obese, and kids ages 6 to 11 with stricter parents showed a 37 percent greater chance of becoming obese.
But the kids of parents who were too permissive also showed a greater risk of obesity.
The researchers said the findings show the importance of good communication between parents and children.
“Authoritative parents have rules, and they enforce them, but they also spend time with the child and show affection to the child,” said study author Lisa Kakinami, an epidemiologist at McGill University in Montreal. “When the child misbehaves, authoritative parents discuss the problem with the child and explain why it was wrong.”
Poverty also contributed to an increased child obesity risk. Though the scientists said parenting style was still a big influence.
“Even if you control for the poverty, the parenting style can still make a difference,” added Kakinami.
“The study makes it clear that some parenting styles are better than others in terms of helping their children avoid becoming overweight and obese,” Dr. Stephen R. Daniels, a pediatrician, professor at the University of Colorado and spokesman for the American Heart Association, said in a statement.
The study was conducted in Canada, but the findings are likely to apply to U.S. children, too, said Daniels, who was not involved in the study.
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