Kids of Authoritarian Parents More Likely to be Obese

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Kids of Authoritarian Parents More Likely to be Obese

Every parent has their own sense of what is best for raising their child. But a new study, presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014 meeting, suggests that kids whose parents are strict but not emotionally receptive are more likely to be obese, compared with kids whose parents set boundaries but are affectionate.

The research team followed a nationally representative group of Canadian children up to the age of 11 years old. In total, there were 37,577 children who were part of the study.

The team identified four styles of parenting based on previous parenting theories:
1. Authoritative: parents are demanding but responsive to child’s emotions/issues
2. Authoritarian: parents are demanding but not responsive
3. Permissive: parents are responsive but not demanding
4. Negligent: parents are neither demanding nor responsive.

After comparing parents’ answers to a cross-sectional survey, the researchers then categorized the parenting styles and studied them in light of children’s body mass index (BMI) percentile.

Results showed that kids whose parents were authoritarian had a 30% higher likelihood of being obese in kids between 2 and 5 years old, while kids between 6 and 11 years old had a 37% higher chance. This is compared with children whose parents were authoritative.
Researchers from the study say exploring factors at home that may contribute to this public health issue could potentially lead to better interventions.

“Parents should at least be aware of their parenting style,” says Lisa Kakinami, PhD, study author from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. “If you’re treating your child with a balance of affection and limits – these are the kids who are least likely to be obese.”

Source: Medical News Today