Pennsylvania [US], February 27 (ANI): Positive parenting, warm interactions and a good environment can reduce the risk of childhood obesity, a new study has found.
The study, 'Family Psychological Assets, Child Behavioural Regulation, and Obesity was published in the 'Pediatrics' journal.
The researchers analysed data from over 1,000 mother-child pairs and found that children's early exposures to family psychological assets--including a home environment, emotional warmth from the mother, and a child's ability to self-regulate--reduced the risk of developing childhood obesity.
Encouragingly, these factors were protective even when children faced familial risks for obesity, including poverty, maternal depression or residence in a single-parent home.
"Research on parenting has shown that these types of family assets influence children's behaviour, academic success, career, and -- not surprisingly - health," said Brandi Rollins, assistant research professor of bio-behavioural health.
"It is significant that these factors also protect against childhood obesity because the family assets we studied are not food or diet-specific at all. It is heartening to know that, by providing a loving, safe environment, we can reduce the risk that children will develop obesity," he added.
The researchers found that children who had early-onset severe obesity did not face greater levels of family risk than children who were not obese. Children with severe obesity, however, did have fewer family assets than children who were not obese or who displayed moderate levels of obesity. More research is needed to understand which factors contribute to the development of severe obesity and which factors reduce the risk.
"Though the findings on severe obesity may seem discouraging, they offer some hope. Some risk factors, like household poverty, can be very difficult to change. Assets, on the other hand, maybe easier to build. People can learn to parent responsively. It is encouraging that parenting really matters, that family matters," Rollins said.
The research suggested parents do responsive parenting. It is one of the family assets measured in the study which involves responding to children in a timely, sensitive and age-appropriate manner based on the child's presenting needs. (ANI)