The Link Between Divorce and Childhood Obesity

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • The contention that half of all marriages will end in divorce is much 
    more an old wives' statistic than a fact. The truth is 50
    percent prophecy for marital doom is erroneous, a percentage gotten 
    through miscalculation and misinterpretation. While there can be some 
    comfort in lower numbers, the fact remains that the divorce rate is 
    still pretty steep. 

    A sad addition to the broken marriage syndrome is the effect it has on 
    the children of divorcees
    . Research supports the contention that 
    children do have stereotypical resilience, although the ability to 
    rebound does not somehow coat youngsters in steely shields. 

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    While most recover from the force of the initial blow, the effects 
    experienced during the first year can be difficult. For those among you 
    who have ever experienced the misfortune of emotional agony, one year 
    can be a very long time. You also may know that pain seeks 
    relief and will often choose a remedy that soothes quickly and 
    efficiently, even if it is only for the short run.

    Possible Reasons for Divorce As a Factor in Childhood Obesity

    As noted, one possible reason for an increase in obesity among children 
    who are struggling through the pressure of parental divorce is using 
    food to comfort and soothe. Adults use food to try and diminish 
    emotional pain. Kids are great observers and connect dots remarkably 
    well. Emulating the behaviors of mom and dad is simply what children do. 

    Another potential factor for weight gain among children in divorced 
    households is that children now find themselves alone at home more than 
    before and fill the time with sedentary behaviors, such as playing video 
    games. In addition, new financial burdens may inhibit participation in 
    sports or after-school activities.

    Parents may also find themselves more pressed for time and sacrifice 
    home-cooked meals in favor of prepackaged meals or fast food.

    The 2010 Norwegian Child Growth Study

    Researchers who have studied 3,000 students from 127 schools across 
    Norway as part of the national 2010 Norwegian Child Growth Study suggest 
    that divorce may be linked to a higher risk for obesity among the 
    of these divorces. The study showed that the children of 
    parents who were divorced were more often overweight or obese than 
    those children whose parents were married. 

    The children of divorced parents were 54 percent more likely to be overweight 
    or obese, with 89 percent more likely to be abdominally obese. Boys were more 
    likely to gain weight in the event of divorce. Boys in a divorce 
    household were 63 percent more likely to be labeled as 
    overweight or obese than boys in a married household. They were also 
    104 percent more likely to be abdominally obese.

    The authors of the study caution that their research shows a correlation 
    between divorce and weight gain, but does not establish concrete cause 
    and effect.

    Living life well-fed,

    My Bariatric Life


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    Medical Press 
    Scientific American 

Published On: June 17, 2014