Monday, December 17, 2007

Dad's parenting style tied to child's weight

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Preschool age children may be more likely to have a higher body mass index -- an indicator of being overweight or obese -- when their fathers are either permissive or disengaged as parents, study findings suggest.

A sampling of 4- to 5-year-old Australian children revealed that their risk of having a higher BMI increased by 59 percent if their father was a permissive, as opposed to an authoritative, parent.

Disengaged dads upped this risk by 35 percent, report Dr. Melissa Wake, of Royal Children's Hospital, Victoria, Australia, and colleagues.

By contrast, they found no similar association between the mothers' parenting style and their preschooler's weight, the investigators report in the journal Pediatrics.

Wake and colleagues determined parenting styles of the fathers and mothers of 4,934 boys and girls who were part of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Overall, about 15 percent of the children were overweight and 5 percent were obese.

Through responses to questionnaires and in-person interviews, the investigators categorized the fathers and mothers as having one of four parenting styles.

Those with low warmth and high control were authoritarian, while the parents with high levels of warmth but low control were considered permissive, and those with low levels of both warmth and control were disengaged. These three styles were compared against the authoritative group -- those showing high levels of warmth and control.

The researchers found that greater paternal control was strongly associated with a decreased likelihood of the child having a higher BMI. This association was evident when adjusting for the different parenting styles and controlling for variables, including the child's gender, language, number of siblings, whether they lived with one or both parents, and their parents education level and weight.

Summing up, the researchers remind parents that warm, firm, and authoritative parenting is known to be associated with the best child outcomes.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, December 2007



Post a Comment

<< Home