Childhood Obesity Traced Back to Mother’s Lifestyle

Childhood Obesity Traced Back to Mother’s Lifestyle

As per the recent study published in The BMJ, children whose mothers are healthy and following a completely healthy diet mostly have a lower risk of developing obesity as compared to the children whose mothers are lazy enough to follow a healthy lifestyle.

The findings of the study show that the risk of becoming overweight among children was very less when their mothers developed a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy weight, regular exercise, no smoking, healthy diet, and no drinks.

As per the researchers, if both the mothers and children strictly follow a healthy lifestyle then the results can be even more better and can decrease the risk of childhood obesity. One of five American children and youth aged between 6 to 19 years are attacked by obesity.

Obesity in childhood can cause a series of health problems in future life such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and premature death during the adulthood phase of life.

To know the risk factors which trigger childhood obesity has now become one of the most important things to consider. Genetics play a huge role in obesity, however, the recent study shows that lifestyle changes show a much more intense effect on obesity than genetics.

There are many studies who have supported the idea that children’s way of living largely depends on their won mothers, however, it remained unknown that whether mother’s healthy way of living during his child’s initial phase of life influence the development of obesity or not.

To solve this confusion the team based in Canada and USA started working on this issue. From the two large studies, the Nurses’ Health Study and Growing Up Today study, the researchers had studied carefully the lifestyle pattern of 24,289 children aged between 9 to 14 years of 16,945 women.

Participants were asked several questions in the form of a questionnaire about the body mass index (BMI), medical history, lifestyle, physical activity level, and diet plan. They were also asked about their alcohol consumption and smoking. 

After perceiving this information, the researchers with the help of body mass index calculated the risk of obesity in each child. Most of the women who were of around 41 years had a BMI of 25 of which 93% were non-smokers. Around  46% the children were boys of 12 years.

 After considering all the possible influential factors, the researchers came up with the conclusion that the mothers who had a healthy body weight, their children’s risk of developing obesity were reduced by 56%. While children of the mothers who were indulged in smoking and alcohol had an increased risk of developing obesity by 31%.

 The study showed that daily exercise for at least 150 minutes a week and moderate drinking also plays a key role in affecting the risk of developing obesity in the childhood phase. The study carried out is based on observations thus, no strong conclusions can be drawn about this link.

 The researchers also set up some limitations like about food intake, weight, and other things, all of this data was extracted from self-report which may have some errors.

The researchers say their study “shows that mothers’ overall healthy lifestyle during the period of their offspring’s childhood and adolescence is associated with a substantially lower risk of obesity in their children”.

They further say that “prospective research examining the role of fathers in the development of obesity in offspring is needed.”


Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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