Nov 19

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Childhood obesity linked to parenting style

Parenting style may be causing obesity in kids, Canadian researchers say. Here is how!

Level: B2 and above

What you can practice: Reading comprehension, Vocabulary building


Your parenting style may be causing your child’s obesity (=being fat, overweight)

A Canadian study suggests certain approaches (= style, method) to parenting may increase (=make larger) risk of obesity in kids


Genetics, poverty and limited access to healthy foods (= not enough opportunities to eat healthy) have long been known to affect (=have an effect on)  a child’s risk of obesity. But a new study suggests parenting style could have an impact (=effect) too.The nationwide Canadian study suggests a link between parenting style and obesity risk in kids, with certain styles upping (=making bigger) the risk. The research, published in Preventive Medicine, is based on a Statistics Canada national survey of more than 37,000 Canadian youth from 1994 to 2008.The study uses a decades-old framework for parenting styles, which divides them into four main groups:

  • Authoritarian: Parents who are demanding (= strict, hard on the kids) but not responsive (= paying attention to the kids’ needs).
  • Authoritative: Parents who are demanding but responsive to their children.
  • Permissive: Parents who are responsive but not demanding.
  • Negligent: Parents who are neither responsive nor demanding.

The results showed that, for the population as a whole, preschool and school-aged kids with “authoritarian” parents were between 35 and 41 per cent more likely to be obese (=fat, overweight) than those with “authoritative” parents.

“Kids are kind of born with this innate ability to self-monitor their eating, though there are always extremes like Halloween. But an “authoritarian” parenting style can override that instinctive (=spontaneous, intuitive) self-monitoring, she said,” said Lisa Kakinami, an assistant professor in Concordia’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

“If you tell your child to always finish what’s on their plate, you’re teaching them to override their own signals (= not pay attention to their own feelings and signals) of feeling full.”One of the take-home messages (=important messages)  is that you should provide the food, and let kids decide when — and how much — to eat, the researchers concluded.That doesn’t mean parents should bow to (=accept) their children’s whims (= desires, wants), of course, since that might involve some less-than-healthy choices. “But encourage them to start with healthy items, so if they get full, they’ve at least eaten their vegetables,” Kakinami said.

Read the full story in The Toronto Star



Image credit: The Toronto Star


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Permanent link to this article: https://www.euenglish.hu/2015/11/childhood-obesity-linked-to-parenting-style/

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