Children Are More Likely To Gain Weight If Their Parents Considered Them To Be Overweight, Study Suggests

First Posted: Jan 14, 2017 04:10 AM EST

Children whose parents considered them to be overweight are more likely to gain weight compared to those who have been considered to have a normal weight. A new report shows that it gives them a negative self-image. Thus, they tend to gain more weight.

The study was based on the analysis and data compiled from two national studies. It was published in Psychological Science.

A psychology research team at the University of Liverpool and Florida State University College of Medicine, Eric Robinson and Angelina Sutin, mentioned in a press release that, "Although parents' perception that their children are overweight has been presumed to be important to the management of childhood obesity, recent studies have suggested the opposite. When a parent identifies a child as being overweight, that child is at increased risk of future weight gain."

They also added that, "We argue that the stigma attached to being an overweight child may explain why children whose parents view them. As being overweight tend to have elevated weight gain during development."

To get the results, the UPI reported that the researchers investigated the data of 2,823 Australian families with the measurement of the children's height and weight at the beginning of the study. The starting age for the children is 4 to 5 years old. The parents then reported if they have considered their children to be underweight, normal weight, overweight or very overweight.

The study then followed the children until they reached adolescence. They were exposed to images of increasing body sizes and were asked to identify which represented them. The researchers also asked if the children had made any attempts to shed weight within the last year.

As a result, it revealed that the parents who considered their children to be overweight more likely to have their children gain weight for the past 10 years. Also, the team conducted the same analysis of 5,886 Irish families and shows the same results.

The researchers indicated that the child's gender does not have any contribution, especially to weight gain, income, health and parents' weight. Thus, Robinson and Sutin concluded that, "The findings of the present studies support the proposition that parents' perception of their children. As overweight could have unintended negative consequences on their children's health," according to EurekAlert.

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