Hug more, scold less: Strict parenting linked to child obesity

Time reports that according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism meeting, “an authoritarian parenting style is worse for … children’s weight than an authoritative one.”

After studying some 37,000 children in Canada, researchers “found that kids of authoritarian parents were 30% more likely to be obese at two years to five years old.”

The Today Show Online reports that in youngsters “aged 6 to 11, having an authoritarian parent — one who is demanding and quick to punish, but not nurturing or emotionally responsive — increased the risk of obesity by 37 percent.”

Researchers theorize that an “overly controlling approach” won’t teach children how to “listen to their own bodies and know when they are hungry or full.” In addition, authoritarian-styled parenting may cause children to comfort themselves by eating.

HealthDay reports that the study’s lead author “said future research on the topic is needed and should look at the long-term impact of parenting styles on children’s weight.”

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

Here are two of my posts on parenting style:

And, here’s a series I did on parenting:

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