Harsh parenting could be making your child obese

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Several studies have found a link between harsh or strict parenting and obesity.

A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent health has found that food insecurity and harsh parenting may lead to obesity in young women.

The study conducted by the Iowa State University found that the risk of obesity was higher in women who were deprived of healthy food and were exposed to harsh parenting, what the authors of the study described as “hostile or aversive physical contact; punishment in response to misbehavior; or angry, critical, or disapproving behavior.”

"The stress hormones are increasing—which is then changing their metabolic rate and behaviors over time.”

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"In particular, for the females, there's something between the stressful reaction of harsh parenting and not having the nutritional food," said Brenda Lohman, professor in human development and family studies and the study’s lead author.

"We can only hypothesize right now that there's something going on metabolically in their bodies, that the stress hormones are increasing—which is then changing their metabolic rate, their behaviors, or both over time."

Click to read more on how harsh parenting causes obesity.

An earlier study also found a link between harsh parenting and obesity. The study found that if a "good cop-bad cop" dynamic at home does not alleviate the effects of one parent's harshness.

Before the study was conducted, "we did not know if parenting that was harshwhile not falling into the category of abuse—could predict physical health," said Thomas Schofield, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University and the study's lead author.

"The best thing we can do is encourage parents to not be harsh."


“The best thing we can do is encourage parents to not be harsh. If we want to make sure we’re protecting children’s health and positive physical health into young adulthood, the best and safest conclusion is to avoid being harsh," he added.

Stress may be the cause of health issues in kids with harsh parents; stress has long been linked to obesity. A negative body image has been linked to obesity among adolescents, and so has loved ones’ negative comments about weight.

READ: 6 ways to reprimand your kids without yelling

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