Study: Children close to mother's weigh less later

December 26, 2011 1:48:15 PM PST
The mother-child relationship has always carried a lot of weight. But now researchers have found that children who are close to their mothers will weigh less later in life.

A new study published in this week's edition of Pediatrics finds the type of relationship a mother has with her young child could affect that little one's chances of becoming obese as a teenager.

Researchers looked at nationwide data that documented relationship characteristics between mothers and their toddlers. The less of an emotional bond a mother had with her child, the higher the risk that the child would become obese by the age of 15.

The study finds that more than one quarter of all toddlers who had poor emotional relationships with their mothers were obese as teens, twice as high when compared to adolescents who were close to their moms.

The reason why is not completely understood but it could be that the kids with poor maternal relationships learn to use food as a source of comfort instead. The study also suggests that areas of the brain that control emotions and stress, along with appetite and energy balance, could be working together to influence the likelihood that a child will be obese.

But instead of just blaming the mother for her child's obesity, experts say the message is that the overall mother-child relationship may impact a youngster's weight, not just the child's eating habits and exercise.

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