Generally diet and exercise are known to have a considerable influence on a person’s body weight. However, this study by scientists from the Ohio State University has disclosed an altogether different perspective by alleging that mother-toddler relationship could affect the ability of the kid to be overweight during young adulthood.
In this analysis, the scientists examined information about 977 individuals who were part of the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Observers checked for variables such as child attachment security and mother sensitivity by recording communications at 3 principal phases of their growth. The mother-child interactions were noted down when the babies reached 15, 24 and 36 months of age.
According to the results, about 26.1% obese teens appeared to have had the weakest early mother-toddler relationship. On the other hand, 15.5%, 12.1% and 13% of adolescents who had good relations with their mothers as toddlers seemed to be affected by obesity.
“The sensitivity a mother displays in interacting with her child may be influenced by factors she can’t necessarily control. Societally, we need to think about how we can support better-quality maternal-child relationships because that could have an impact on child health,” commented Sarah Anderson, assistant professor of epidemiology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study.
Cumulatively, the scientists found that children with the weakest maternal-child relationship score seemed to encounter 2 and a half folds higher chances of being obese as they reached young adulthood. This risk factor was not seen in kids who had good relationships with their mothers as toddlers.
One scientific reason for this could be that parental sensitivity exposed the kids to an effective stress response mechanism. The latter is known to induce thirst, hunger and sleep patterns among kids which apparently play a primary role in obesity.
The investigators are now conducting trials to gauge if interventions that increase parental sensitivity could reduce teenage obesity risks. The report is published in the journal, Pediatrics.