Is Mom to blame for everything? In the 50s and 60s (and perhaps beyond) cold-hearted and distant mothers were blamed for autism. Mothers were often blamed for couples' infertility, children born with deformities, disabilities, mental illness, diseases and pretty much everything that wasn't "good" about the child. It's good that we know better now.
Still, our mothers are still often the focal point when trying to assess why children are they way they are. And in a new study, again they are the center of attention when it comes to why our kids are fat.
Reuters Health News reports new research from the Ohio State University College of Public Health in Columbus that studied close to 1000 children, analyzing their weight in addition to their relationships with their mothers. The results were quite significant.
Twice the children with bad maternal relationships were overweight, compared to children with positive bonds to their mothers. Of the 1000 children, over 25 percent of overweight children had negative relationships with their mothers, compared with just 13 percent of children who were overweight but had a good connection with their moms.
There are several factors to blame. Mothers who do provide a healthy diet to their children or who do not encourage them to exercise or take them to the park or outside to play may not have healthy relationships with their children in the first place.
Children growing up in homes that are unstable or stressful are also more likely to become overweight. Stress is a known factor in weight gain.
Neglect of children also results in their lack of physical activity and involvement in school activities and sports.
Poorer homes (with poverty increasing stress levels) are also more likely to depend on fast food or pre-packaged processed foods as part of the daily diet -- again, known causes for obesity. Single, working mothers may not be able to provide the same kind of care as more affluent, two-parent families.
Children in poorer homes may not have access to safe neighborhoods or parks and may have to stay at home watching television and living more sedentary lives.