Stressed Parents May Have Obese Children, Study Suggests

First Posted: Nov 10, 2015 05:50 PM EST

Stressed parents may be more likely to have obese children, according to a recent study.

Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that parents who experienced three or more chronic stressors were twice as likely to have children with obesity than those who experienced no stress.

"Obesity and chronic stress were both prevalent among this Latino population, with more than one-quarter (28 percent) of children ages 8-16 with obesity, and nearly one-third (29 percent) of their parents reporting high levels of stress," Carmen Isasi of the university said in a news release. "This study is among the first of its kind to show that parental stress is a risk factor for childhood obesity among Latinos, and adds to the understanding of family influences on child weight status."

During the study, researchers looked at data from the Study of Latino Youth (SOL Youth)--a study funded by the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of NIH--in order to determine the relationship between any parental stressors and child weight status among the study sample.

While more studies are needed, researcher Margarita Teran-Garcia noted that the cross-sectional study, "suggests that special attention should be paid to adult patients who report experiencing high stress levels in this population, and providers are encouraged to consider behavioral counseling as one measure for obesity prevention and treatments."

The study was presented at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting at ObesityWeek.

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