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Stressed parents may be linked to childhood obesity

Category: General Health

According to recent research, the stress parents experience may have a direct correlation to the obesity of their children, WebMD reported. A study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, looked 2,119 parents and other caregivers who had children between 3 and 17 years old. The study authors asked the subjects questions about themselves, their kids and the stressors in their lives.

Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D., a child psychologist at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told WebMD that the connection between obesity in children and the stress of the parents can be attributed to parents who are busy or distracted having difficulty finding healthy foods for their children, and many times they will opt for fast food instead.

Some of the most at-risk groups for childhood obesity due to stressed parents include black and hispanic children, children from single parent households and kids from poverty-stricken families.

"You have a hard day at work, and trying to get a nutritious meal on the table can be overwhelming and expensive," Mackey told the news source. "It can be difficult to raise healthy kids without adequate resources."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 17 percent of kids and teenagers, which amounts to 12.5 million individuals are obese. Since 1980, the rates of childhood obesity have almost tripled.

Mackey also noted that its important to teach parents healthy ways to deal with stress and provide them with the knowledge of how to plan and prepare healthy meals for their children.

Health risks of childhood obesity
The CDC reports that obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, respiratory problems and high cholesterol, which can be detected with cholesterol tests. Obese children also have greater risks of being discriminated against and having poor self-esteem.

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