Research shows healthy lifestyle for mothers cuts child obesity risk

childhood obesity mothers
Study suggests that parent-based strategies can help curb incidence of childhood obesity
Industry
04/07/2018 - 09:56
Children of mothers who follow a healthy lifestyle have a substantially lower risk of developing obesity than children of mothers who don’t make healthy lifestyle choices, finds a study published in the British Medical Journal.

The findings show that risk was lowest among children whose mothers maintained a healthy weight, exercised regularly, did not smoke, ate a healthy diet, and were light to moderate drinkers.

The researchers suggest that if both mothers and their children stuck to a healthy lifestyle this could result in a greater reduction in the risk of childhood obesity.

An international team based in Canada and the US set out to investigate whether mother and child lifestyle factors have an effect on the risk of childhood obesity.

They examined the medical history and lifestyle characteristics of 24,289 children aged 9-14 years who were born to 16,945 women in two US studies.

Previous studies had shown that children’s lifestyle choices were largely influenced by their mothers, however, it was unknown whether healthy lifestyle patterns in mothers during their offspring’s childhood and adolescence influenced the development of obesity.

The researchers now say that their findings highlight the potential benefits of parent-based strategies to curb childhood obesity.

Identifying risk factors for the prevention of childhood obesity has become a public health priority in many first world countries, including the UK.

While the role of genetics in obesity is widely recognised, a rapid increase in obesity in recent years is more likely to be due to lifestyle changes.

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