Obesity and bad eating habits are two things that seem to have become increasingly serious problems for kids nowadays--but there is definitely something you, as a mom, can do about it. According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, kids have the tendency to eat more when they have a less-than-wonderful relationship with their mothers. In fact, the study also revealed that those who missed out on the crucial mother-child bond were twice as likely to become obese by age 15.

Researchers studied 977 children who were all enrolled in the Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development in 1991 to see how many of them struggled with obesity as well as in their relationship with their mothers. Results revealed that 26 percent of those who had the poorest relationships with their mothers by age three were obese, as opposed to the 13 percent who had better early childhood experiences. As a matter of fact, the weight gain was evident in children as early as four-and-a-half years old.

Sarah Anderson, the lead author of the study, believes that the link between the mother-child relationship and obesity lies in the brain. "Sensitive parenting increases the likelihood that a child will have a secure pattern of attachment and develop a healthy response to stress," Anderson explained. "A well-regulated stress response could in turn influence how well children sleep and whether they eat in response to emotional distress—just two factors that affect the likelihood for obesity."

While there are many other factors that contribute to obesity, such as genetics and a poor diet, the study opens up a whole new avenue health conscious parents can address. Take the time to form strong relationships with your kids. Aside from taking care of your children’s dietary needs, you should not neglect their emotional needs as well.

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For more on childhood obesity, check out these articles:


Need advice for developing a better relationship with your children? Try these:

(Photo source: sxc.hu)

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