Study finds parental stress linked to obesity in children

Dec. 6, 2013, Medical Xpress

Parental stress is linked to weight gain in children, according to a new study from St. Michael’s Hospital. The study found that children whose parents have high levels of stress have a body mass index (BMI) about 2 percent higher than those whose parents have low levels of stress. Children with higher parental stress also gained weight at a 7 percent higher rate during the study period than other children.

Those figures may sound low, said lead author Dr. Ketan Shankardass, but they’re significant because they are happening in children, whose bodies and eating and exercise habits are still developing. Plus, if that weight gain continues and is compounded over a lifetime, it could lead to serious obesity and health issues.

Dr. Shankardass, a social epidemiologist with the hospital’s Centre for Research on Inner City Health, studied data collected during the Children’s Health Study, one of the largest and most comprehensive investigations into the long-term effects of air pollution on the respiratory health of children. Continue reading