Affection and Obesity


If your mom and dad were rigid with rules, skimpy with affection, and didn’t talk to you much, you have a greater risk of being overweight.

According to a story from United Press International a new Canadian study found that kids who had parents with those characteristics were more likely to be obese.

The research team looked at over 37,000 children from two types of families.  One group of kids had parents were generally affectionate, had reasonable discussions about behavior, and set healthy boundaries.  These parents were described as “authoritative.”

The second group of kids had parents who strict about limits, rarely talked to their children, and showed little affection.  These parents were described as “authoritarian.”

The researchers then compared the kids’ body mass index.   The children reared by authoritarian parents had a thirty percent higher chance of being obese before the age of 5.  The kids between the ages of 6-11 were thirty-seven percent more likely to be classified as obese.

The study also found that living in poverty was associated with childhood obesity, but parenting style affected obesity regardless of income level.

Researcher Lisa Kakinamis says, “Parents should at least be aware of their parenting style.  If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits—these are the kids who are least likely to be obese.”

If you’d like to learn how to balance love and limits in your parenting, let me recommend a great book.  It’s called Boundaries with Kids by Christian psychologists Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio.