Study: kids of divorced parents may be more at risk for obesity

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2014 | Divorce

Childhood obesity has been a major area of concern here in the U.S. in recent times. One thing that it can be important to figure out when it comes to addressing any children’s health problem is what children are particularly vulnerable to the problem. A recent study from another country indicates that children of divorced parents may be particularly at risk of weight struggles.

The study’s subjects were 3,000 children from Norway. The children were third-graders.

The study found that boys in particular were significantly more likely to struggle with problems like obesity if their parents had gotten divorced. Specifically, it found that the boys with divorced parents had a 63 percent higher risk of being obese or overweight and a 104 percent higher risk of abdominal obesity than the boys with still-married parents.

The study did not make any determinations as to whether the discovered association is a cause-and-effect relationship.

What could potentially make children of divorced parents more vulnerable to obesity? Some potential factors that have been thrown out there by experts are: stress, poor coping habits, lower levels of parental supervision and family financial cutbacks.

This study’s results touch on something that has long been known about divorce: it can have a wide variety of impacts on kids. This does not mean that parents should stay in a bad marriage rather than get a divorce for the sake of the kids, for this can be damaging to children as well. What it does mean is that, when parents get divorced, they should be mindful of the potential negative impacts their children could experience and take efforts to reduce or eliminate the risk of these impacts occurring.

When it comes to helping lower their children’s obesity risk, things divorcing parents can do include focusing on healthy living habits and trying to keep the daily routine for the kids as normal as possible following the divorce.

Also, working together with one’s ex-spouse to address issues like healthy eating and exercise for the kids may help.

When it comes to any sort of issue regarding the care of the kids, divorcing parents working together to come to an arrangement that is in the best interest of the kids can be an effective way to address the issue. While this isn’t always an easy process, it is one that experienced family law attorneys can help divorcing parents with.

Source: WebMD, “Kids’ Obesity Risk May Rise With Parents’ Divorce,” June 4, 2014