The rate that children are becoming obese is growing worldwide. In an effort to combat the rise of obesity, a team of researchers from Montreal conducted a study to find out how parenting style and the environment combined can effect children’s risk of obesity.
The study looked at 37,577 children and compared where they lived, their economic level, characteristics of their family and neighborhood to their height and weight.
The researchers also looked into the different types of parenting styles being reported. Results showed that those children whose parents were not responsive to their children but still demanded a lot, or “authoritarian type” parenting, were more likely to be obese than those children whose parents were both responsive and demanding, with authoritative type parenting.
“Parents tend to feed their children food instead of attention. And the affordable food is highly processed unhealthy food,” says Desiree Manzo, a parent of three children.
The study also found that young preschool aged children who were living in poverty are 20 percent more at risk compared to the children living above poverty, regardless of parenting style.
“(Authoritarian) results in the children’s ability to regulate their own energy intake being underdeveloped. These children may be more likely to overindulge when given the opportunity,” says Lisa Kakinami, the study’s lead author.
Locally, organizations such as the Food Literacy Center are working with parents and schools to teach young people the importance of eating better and more ways to get children excited about fruits and vegetables.