Mother-Daughter Bonding Beats ObesityDecember 29, 2011 No Comments
Having a good relationship with your mom may benefit more than your emotional health.
Bonding with your mom could actually keep you thin, according to a new study. After tracking 977 children, researchers found that toddlers who lacked strong emotional bonds with their mothers were twice as likely to become obese by the age of 15.
Experts say that early childhood experience has a significant impact on the brain. According to Sarah Anderson, lead author of the study:
- Sensitive parenting increases the likelihood that a child will have a secure pattern of attachment and develop a healthy response to stress. A well-regulated stress response could in turn influence how well children sleep and whether they eat in response to emotional distress — just two factors that affect the likelihood for obesity.
But is this all just common sense?
Maybe. Yet sometimes we still need to be reminded of the importance of maintaining good relationships — especially with our parents.
The study is also significant in that it tells us that there are preventative measures to take against obesity. It’s not just about locking the candy drawer or keeping the cookie jar on the top shelf, it’s about being an attentive and loving parent. A mother should be able to “recognize her child’s emotional state and respond with comfort, consistency and warmth.”
Obviously, maintaining a good relationship is just one piece of the puzzle. This study finds an association between early bonding and future physical health, but, despite a mother’s best efforts, her child may gain weight later in life. There are many other contributing factors at play.
Still, parents play a crucial role in early emotional and physical development. And as much as we can do to prevent obesity (which may shield a child against bullying and low self-esteem), we should do.
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