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Overprotective Moms Linked to Obese Kids

Update Date: Jul 18, 2014 06:15 PM EDT
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Overprotective mothers are significantly more likely to raise overweight or obese children, according to a new study.

New research reveals that Telethon Kids Institute reveals that 10-to 11-year-olds were significantly more likely to have higher BMI if their mothers were overprotective.

The latest longitudinal study also found that most protective mothers experienced the greatest levels of socioeconomic and environmental stress.

In light of the growing obesity epidemic, the link found in the latest study should to be further analyzed, said researchers.

"Rates of child obesity have increased over the last 30 years or so, and across the same time we've seen changes in levels of parent fear and the number of children who get driven to school, for example," lead researcher Kirsten Hancock said in a news release.

"But so far there hasn't been any research that demonstrates a direct relationship between protectiveness and child overweight and obesity," she added.

The latest study involved 2,596 children from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Participants were assessed every two years from ages four to five to age ten and 11.

Researchers noted that maternal characteristics and socioeconomic status were collected at each stage of the study.

The finings revealed that moms who scored moderately-high on the protective scale were 13 percent more likely to have overweight or obese children, and those who scored at the highest end of the scale were 27 percent more likely to mother children with overweight or obese BMIs.

 "However, we only found this pattern once kids reached the age of about 10-11 years," Hancock noted. "This could be to do with the amount of independence and physical activity that kids get."

"At 10-11 years some kids will be allowed to walk or ride to school on their own, or with friends, or participate in sport... others will be driven around and have greater restrictions," she explained. "So while some kids have many options for physical activity, kids with an overprotective parent might miss out, [which] could explain why we found higher rates of overweight and obesity."

The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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